As a child, some of the most exciting school days are the ones filled with the nervous anticipation of classroom science experiments. Whether it is a lesson on energy using circuitry, or the blending of solutions from one tube to another to create chemical reactions, one thing is certain and that is the importance of providing opportunities in science at a young age.
As part of the ongoing effort to encourage participation in science, West Virginia University will be hosting the annual Summer Science Camp from June 17-21.
“Middle school is a particularly critical age at which many students, especially girls, decide to opt-out of science,” said Jennifer Robertson-Honecker, assistant professor of chemistry. “I feel there is much value in fostering a child’s spark for science and my hope is that a few students will pursue STEM majors at WVU in the future.”
Robertson-Honecker has acted as a co-instructor and lead curriculum development specialist for the day camp since it began in 2008. The Department of Physics, C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences put on the camp, which is attended by 20 rising 7th, 8th and 9th graders.
“We target students who have not had much exposure to science in class or from groups who are underrepresented in professional science,” said Alan Bristow, assistant professor of physics. “We have been fortunate to obtain funding from the Provost Office and Eberly College.”
With support from the Provost Office and Eberly College, the camp will now feature a video-making component that Bristow hopes will improve the camp’s visibility and possibly help expand the program statewide and beyond.
Each day a new area of science is introduced and this year’s schedule includes activities in energy and forces, electricity and magnetism, optics, atoms and molecules, and chemistry. The free, five-day experience provides fun challenges to engage students in science with projects like building and riding hovercrafts and exploring the science behind fireworks.
Jennifer Robertson-Honecker and Alan Bristow both hold doctorate degrees in their respective fields of chemistry and physics, and have been essential in guiding students through the WVU Summer Science Camp each year.
For more information, contact Jennifer Robertson-Honecker, at 304-293-0104 or Jen.Robertson@mail.wvu.edu