Senior Stretch 2024

Nurturing Brilliance: Unleash Your Potential
Big Ideas for Bright Minds

13th March 2024 – Bloomsbury Baptist Church Shaftesbury Avenue, London.
14th March 2024 – Oxford Town Hall.


Welcome to the Senior Stretch Study Day 2024!

About Senior Stretch

Senior stretch is an annual gathering of exceptional young minds, designed to foster creativity, critical thinking, and personal development. Join us in the pursuit of nurturing brilliance, fostering lifelong learners, and creating a world where able and ambitious students thrive as knowledgeable, well-rounded citizens in a global community. Together, we can unlock your full potential and pave the way for a brighter future. This year’s theme, “Nurturing Brilliance: Unleash Your Potential,” will inspire you to explore your passions, embrace challenges, and connect with like-minded peers from around the world.

What to Expect

Keynote Speakers: Engage with renowned experts and visionaries who will share their insights on unlocking your potential.

Peer Networking: Connect with gifted students from diverse backgrounds, exchange ideas, and forge lifelong friendships.

Discussions: Participate in thought-provoking discussions on contemporary issues and global challenges.

Critical thinking and Problem solving: Explore new ideas and develop strategies for real-world challenges.

Don’t Miss Out! The Gifted Student Conference 2024 promises to be an extraordinary experience that will ignite your passion, inspire your intellect, and empower your future. Register today and prepare to unleash your full potential!

Join us on Snapchat – aconferences – for your daily philosophical thought of the day, plus access to free resources.


Oxbridge Interview Questions – Does a Snail have Consciousness?

Julie Arliss
This Oxbridge Interview question can be approached in many different ways and is designed to really get students engaged at a deep level with one of the most difficult questions in the Universe. What is consciousness, how do we identify it and how did it evolve? It explores the way consciousness is currently measured in animals and humans and the way philosophers have approached consciousness starting with Plato and Aristotle. The question of consciousness remains what is called a HARD problem in science, and this session will help students to get to grips with precisely why that is and suggest a range of directions a deep thinker might take in trying to address it.

Science and the Secret of Happiness

Science and the Secret of Happiness.

Can Science tell us about How to be Happy? We all want to be happy, so how is that achieved? Is happiness found in fame and fortune? Or in material possessions: house, car, garden, great job? Or maybe the true secret of happiness is accepting that there isn’t one! What’s your guess? Can science tell us how to be happy? Dr O’Neill will review the scientific literature on the secret of happiness.

Top Gun Soaring to Success

Major Alexander Fogassy

In this unique address, Major Alexander Fogassy will draw upon his experiences as a military officer and fighter pilot in the US Air Force to impart invaluable lessons on leadership, teamwork, and facing adversity head-on. He will share insightful anecdotes from his military career, offering a glimpse into the high-stakes world of combat-oriented leadership and resilience in the face of challenges. Major Fogassy invites you to listen to the principles he drew on which allowed him to overcome difficult odds, and what brought him to study for a doctorate at Oxford, sponsored by the US Air Force Chief of Staff. This talk will give you insights into making decisions under pressure, and how to set ambitious goals and be inspired to achieve them, even when the odds seem stacked against you. Join us for a memorable experience with Major Fogassy, and reflect with him on what it takes to “ace” whatever field you pursue. 

Unlocking the Secrets of Social Physics: A Fascinating Talk You Won't Want to Miss!

Julie Arliss

Are you ready to explore the incredible world of Social Physics and its impact on our lives? Unleash insights and learn how artificial intelligence and big data are unlocking hidden insights that drive innovation and decision making. Join us for an enlightening talk where you’ll dive into the science behind our social interactions and discover the keys to a more connected world. Connect the dots by discovering how seemingly unrelated events and behaviours are interconnected, revealing the hidden tapestry of human society. Unravel the threads of Social Physics and be part of the revolution that’s shaping our future. Big data and Social Physics are changing the world – be at the forefront of this exciting transformation.

The Big Debate:
Exploring the Ethical Implications of Artificial Intelligence in the Modern World: A Debate for Gifted Students.

AI represents one of the most rapidly advancing fields of technology. New breakthroughs and applications continually emerge, pushing the boundaries of what is possible. The prospect of revolutionary change and disruption generates excitement but, what are the risks? There is a wide ranging, ongoing, discussion of the implications of artificial intelligence and, in this debate, we will examine the ethical, societal, economic and technical implications of AI technologies. For critical thinking, a global perspective, interdisciplinary learning, problem solving and future career opportunities this is a not to be missed debate.


Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss is an outstanding Gifted Educator, nurturing brilliance through a holistic approach. At the heart of Julie Arliss’ philosophy lies a deep commitment to unlocking the unique potential within every gifted student. She believes that gifted education is not just about cultivating academic excellence but also fostering holistic development, instilling a love for lifelong learning, and nurturing the well-being of each student. Thriving Minds provides talented students with the tools necessary to cultivate critical thinking, analyse complex problems, and innovate. This philosophy encourages students to question the status quo, explore new ideas, and develop solutions to real-world challenges. In placing great value on mentorship and guidance students benefit from the wisdom and expertise of educators who not only teach but also inspire and support them on their educational journey. Through steadfast commitment to this philosophy, numerous more able and ambitious students have not only achieved academic excellence but have also grown into compassionate, innovative and socially conscious individuals. Julie Arliss’ legacy extends far beyond the conference platform, influencing the lives of students who carry these values with them throughout their lives.

Dr. Christopher O’Neill

Dr O’Neill is a fellow of Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford and is a polymathic thinker. He is a psychologist, registered psychotherapist and trained counsellor. He initiated the large-scale MYRIAD research project in Oxford University investigating resilience and well-being in young people. He has forty years’ experience of working with students and staff in schools and is an exceptional educator.

Major Alex Fogassy

Major Fogassy is not the typical leader; his almost 12 years as an Air Force officer has equipped him with a well-rounded and impactful leadership skillset. As an accomplished F-16 pilot with multiple operational tours (and deployments) under his belt, Major Fogassy has taken on challenges unique even in the exceptional profession of a combat aviator. As part of his Professional Military Education, he is currently studying for a DPhil at Oriel College, University of Oxford, furthering his leadership abilities and decision-making processes as part of a rare USAF sponsorship. In Oxford Maj Fogassy competes on the University Athletics team, rows for his college, and plays American Football (he was a member of the university team for the 2021-2022 season). After departing Oxford, Maj. Fogassy will advance with his career, with possibilities ranging from returning to the cockpit to taking on a strategic advisory role within the Pentagon.

Dr Mark Lewney

Dr. Mark Lewney, a distinguished individual with a Ph.D. in physics, boasts an impressive 24-year tenure as a Senior Patent Examiner at the UK Intellectual Property Office. His expertise lies in the fields of speech recognition, telecommunications, and neural network applications. Dr. Lewney has been a sought-after speaker on the subject of AI, having taken the podium at numerous science festivals and conferences across Europe. His profound interest in AI is further exemplified by his Master’s thesis in LLM, which delved into the realm of computer-generated works. As we witness the ever-growing presence of Artificial Intelligence, it’s worth noting that it’s not just becoming pervasive in novel inventions but also actively generating new innovations on its own. A remarkable testament to this is a UK patent application from last year, which legally recognised an AI as the inventor—a sign of the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and intellectual property. Dr Lewnew will advocate against AI in the debate.

Liam Bekirsky

Liam Bekirsky holds the position of Vice President at the Oxford Artificial Intelligence Society, a dynamic organisation dedicated to fostering an inclusive and interdisciplinary Artificial Intelligence community. The society’s mission encompasses education, collaboration, networking, and employment opportunities, all with the aim of propelling innovation and fostering enduring societal benefits. 
Liam is concurrently pursuing a doctorate at the Oxford Internet Institute, where his research resides at the intriguing intersection of sociology and network analysis, knowledge mobilisation, user experience design, and education making him a truly multi-talented expert in this field. Liam Berkinsky will passionately advocate in favour of AI.

Conference Dates


Conference Fees

Early reservations are strongly recommended.


Regular Registration £37.50


Regular Registration £37.50

One free place with every 12 students, the charge for which will be deducted at checkout.

Unaccompanied teachers attending for CPD £220

Please Note

Limited availability – plan ahead and lock in your price by booking in advance. We appreciate that some schools may need time to collect money, please contact us early to make a reservation hold.

Booking Places at a Conference

Bookings for a conference are usually made by a teacher or other representative from a school, and students attend conference with their school group accompanied by a supervising teacher. The school is invoiced for the number of students and staff attending (if schools require payment from students or parents for attendance, these payments are made to the school).

Please note that we cannot accept bookings for unaccompanied students, and all students attending are required have a supervising teacher, or parent, with them. This is a workplace health and safety issue, as we do not have the necessary staff to provide supervision of students at the conference, or during meal breaks. [If a school is not attending, and a student from that school wishes to attend independently, they can do so, but they must be accompanied by a supervising adult who is charged at the student rate, and who makes the booking]

We kindly request attendees bring their own food and beverages to the event for their comfort and convenience.


Please arrive at the venue early to be seated.

Oxford from 9.15

London from 9.45

School Bookings

For bookings for smaller numbers please address requests to [email protected]

CPD Bookings