Especially in the Midwest, where our summers are short and well-deserved after seemingly endless chilly winter days, we treasure and value summertime as a season of relaxation. This year, however, we want to lay out the challenge for kids, adolescents, and even parents to not only enjoy sitting on patios and playing in sprinklers this summer, but to learn something valuable that you simply won’t find within school hours.
There’s only so much schools can do with limited resources and time, but important work and career preparation is done outside the classroom as well. That’s why STEM coordinator Kathleen Lodl was honored for her exemplary work in an earlier blog post: It isn’t just during the school year that time spent outside of school matters.
The Young Nebraska Scientists understand this need, and have been actively working to fill it with fun, engaging summer camps and experiences. There are a plethora of opportunities from this organization to appeal to all age levels: They offer middle-school camps, high-school camps, and summer research experiences for 10th and 11th graders who think that work in science could be beneficial to their later career or educational goals.
The program was founded in 2008 to provide exciting STEM enrichment; and the camps help students learn through engaging, active-style experiences. The high school research program is more of an extended effort, and is a paid (!) taste of what it’s like to be on a university research team. The camps are all over the state, and many have spots left! In fact, the application deadline was actually extended from April 27th to May 8th, so if you’re interested, hustle and hand in that application!
Middle schoolers have two camp options, and there are spots available in both. Doane College in Crete, Nebraska will be offering a camp on Going Green! Algae for Biofuels, hosted by the lab of Dr. Brad Elder, who has established a small algal biology research group that develops algal research experiences. It’s for 7th and 8th graders who want to learn the basics of biofuels and algal biology, as well as more about today’s energy challenges and potential solutions. They can also choose to attend another great choice: It’s a Materials World at the University of Nebraska-Kearney.
High schoolers can also attend a version of Going Green! Algae for Biofuels, or choose between Light in the Nano World (7 spots remaining!) and Field Biodiversity (just 4 spots remaining!). Alternatively, those sixteen years or older can apply to be a Young Nebraska Scientist and get hands-on experience in a field that interests you, like agronomy, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics. Best of all? You’ll get paid for your learning experience.
These camps are a great way to support STEM education, and actively work on learning outside traditional school “hours.” For questions about applying to any of these exciting summer opportunities, leave a comment in the section below anytime!
photo credit: Yns.nebraska.edu