WestConn to host STEM summer camp
Camp to offer science- and technology-based activities

DANBURY, CONN. — STEM summer camp isn’t your everyday camp. Instead of swimming lessons and marshmallow roasts, a group of Danbury middle school students will learn about science, technology, engineering and math while participating in exciting, hands-on projects.

The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) summer camp, which runs for two weeks in July, is funded by a three-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and is a collaboration between Dr. Theodora Pinou, WCSU assistant professor of biological and environmental sciences; Ann Mead, administrator for the Danbury schools extended learning program; and Harry Rosvally, STEM curriculum administrator for the schools.

The program is for seventh-grade students in Danbury and will meet from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the university’s Midtown campus with the majority of activities taking place in the Science Building. More than 50 students applied for the 20 available spots; students were selected through a lottery. The program required the students to be disadvantaged minorities needing encouragement in math and reading.

“The whole idea is that they get an understanding of technology,” said Pinou. Part of this technological education will include an overnight visit to Wallops Island, Va., the home of NOAA’s satellite receiving center. They also will visit the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford and the New Haven television station WTNH to learn about weather reporting with Gary Lessor, assistant director of the WCSU Weather Center.

The students also will learn about sea turtle conservation. “They are going to adopt one of their own sea turtles from the Long Island Sound,” Pinou said. “The turtle will be from Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead, Long Island. The students will attach a transmitter to the turtle, tag it and release it into the water. They will then be able to follow it for a year using Internet capabilities from their own computers. They learn about how it feeds, where it goes and see if it will avoid the Gulf.”

Students will also learn about astronomy from Dr. Dennis Dawson, WCSU astronomy professor. This session will culminate with a “Dinner under the Stars” the evening of Friday, July 16. Students will enjoy dinner with their families at the Westside campus and make presentations on what they learned on astronomy day.

The students will have a final presentation event on Tuesday, Aug. 3, in Warner Hall on the Midtown campus where students will show their families what they learned during their two-week camp experience.

“Understanding math, science and technology can help solve real global problems,” Pinou said, such as recycling metals, dealing with issues like the Gulf oil spill and ensuring that remote areas of the world have fresh water. “Learning about science helps them make connections between the quality of their lives and technology. It makes them interested in careers in engineering, technology, math and science.”

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.


 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

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