4 Opportunities to Hone Your STEM Skills In 2016

teaching stem skills in a technology centerSomehow, it’s already March (time flies when you’re having fun, right?), which means that it’s time to begin planning for summer and the rest of 2016. How will you take advantage of those precious summer months? For many students, summer break is the time to enjoy enrichment opportunities that may not be possible during the regular school year.

Luckily, Nebraska has no shortage of ways to shine up those skills, test out careers, and do a little learning in your free time. The Journal-Star recently published a comprehensive list of summer activities, from art to science to church, nature, and more. Many of these camps have early-bird deadlines, and some even have scholarships available before a certain deadline, so the time to begin thinking about your options is now!

Here are a few camps, experiences, and opportunities both in Nebraska and throughout the country that would be the ideal fit for any student looking to hone their STEM skills and prepare for a future career. Teachers, please share with any of your students that you think could be a good fit.

Camp Summergold: There are two sessions of Camp Summergold, an accredited residential camp for girls ages 11-17 held on the Doane University campus in Crete. The first is arts week, and the second is the STEAM session: science, technology, engineering, architecture, and math. Learn how to code computer games and animation, learn how to code for television news from female directors, technicians, and programmers, and more. The camp offers “friend registration” until May 1st, so any student who registers with a friend saves $50 per camper. Learn more here.

KICK Camps: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kirkwood Interactive Camps for Kids offer all sorts of camps for kids ages 9-15. From basic video design to algebra instruction to making your own game app, there’s every type of learning experience under the sun available. They also offer scholarships, but those are on a first-come, first-serve basis, so applying sooner rather than later is ideal. Learn more about the classes available here.

Bright Lights Summer Learning Adventures: Bright Lights is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing hands-on educational opportunities. Registration or their summer classes begins on April 1st, and Lincoln area students won’t want to miss out! There are both half-day and full-day camps available in robotics, test tube science, physics, coding with scratch, and more. Like KICK, Bright Lights offers need-based scholarships on a first-come, first-serve basis. They also provide free bus service from select schools.

Young Nebraska Scientists: Each summer, the Young Nebraska Scientists offer some of the most prestigious camps in the state. For middle schoolers this year, they’ll be offering a camp in algae and biofuels, nanoscience, and cybersecurity—pretty cool stuff. Campers participate in academic activities from 9am to 5pm, and have scheduled extracurricular activities in the evenings after dinner. The application is a little more stringent for this camp, requiring a teacher recommendation and a student essay, so you’ll want to get started as soon as possible. Learn more here.

Are there any camps we missed? If so, let us know and leave a comment in the section below, any time!

photo credit: Minority Serving Institute Partnership Program via photopin (license)