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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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STEM camp success leads to July session


Photo by Kelley Starnes

Roger Wang works on a design while waiting for his first design to print.

For the past five years, hundreds of 6th to 12th graders have come to Texas A&M for one week during the summer to improve their understanding of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.
Monday, a new group of students visited campus for the July STEM camp. This is the first time a second camp has been initiated by the College of Education and Human Development.
The reason for the additional camp, said Shelly Grassinger, STEM program coordinator, was the program’s increased recognition, which increased attendance.
The 600 STEM students applied primarily from the Energized For STEM Academy in Houston, but are increasingly being drawn to A&M from other states such as Connecticut, Massachusetts and California, Grassinger said.
“The June camp was mainly energized for STEM students and 10 outside students. The upcoming July camp is all outside students from all over the states,” Grassinger
The primary purpose of these camps are to be previews of the facilities and classes located and offered at Texas A&M.
There are a variety of classes ranging from 3D printing, animation, and circuit design to plant biology, cosmetics chemistry and foreign languages.
The students are given a survey and rate the classes based on their level of interest in that particular class.
Students attending Aggie STEM camps may choose to attend only the day camps, attend a two-day mini camp or to stay the entire duration of the camp in provided off-campus housing, Erdogan said.
These camps are part of a much larger experiment that explores the relationships with student knowledge retention, teacher ability and resources provided, said Niyazi Erdogan, technology STEM researcher for the Aggie STEM Institute.
The Aggie STEM office will receive a teacher quality research grant later in July, Erdogan said. The office wanted students to be present so they could have a better idea of the instructor-student relationship.
“These teachers for the teacher quality grant are all in the STEM field, and they observe the instruction type and how to improve the instructor’s quality and implement project-based learning,” Erdogan said.
Since Texas A&M was founded as a mechanical engineering college, it has a rich history with the STEM fields, Grassinger said.
Grassinger said there were still hundreds of opportunities to be involved in research at any level of the collegiate career.
Celise Rice, editorial assistant in the STEM office, said these camps were a way to kindle the interest of hundreds of children who may grow up to be in professions like doctors or engineers.
The wide variety of courses offered makes for nearly unlimited exposure to all branches of the STEM fields. Such exposure will allow the children to gain exposure to the scientific environment, research assets, and a broader spectrum of the STEM fields at large.
“It certainly gives them insight as to what will be available to them on the campus in terms other than dining and class locations,” Rice said. “It also allows them to meet other personnel and staff on campus, and work with things they will be able to use once they get involved in their undergraduate career.”

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