Posted August 15, 2012

Summer camp focuses Philadelphia students on STEM careers

Greg Fornia/Temple University
Camp participants showcase their projects at the Greater Philadelphia STEM Center Summer Camp. From left: Brandon Theiu, a seventh grader at Albert M. Greenfield School; Haru Toliver, a sixth grader at Khepera Charter School; Stephen Njiru, a sixth grader at Julia R. Masterman Middle School; and Robert Sim, an eighth grader at Masterman.

To increase awareness of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, Temple recently hosted 59 Philadelphia middle school students for a two-week summer science camp.

The Greater Philadelphia STEM Center Summer Camp, run by Temple Chemistry Professor Susan Jansen Varnum, focused on encouraging students to consider STEM careers by exposing them to a college environment, laboratory research and interaction with scientists and engineers.

This year’s camp focused on energy, robotics and automation. Campers built and tested an autonomous guided vehicle, a robotic windmill and a hydroelectric generator; designed circuits both in series and parallell; and constructied a flying saucer.

The camp concluded with a day-long finale at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, during which the students toured test facilities, gave poster presentations on their work and met with Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah.

“We wanted to familiarize the campers with the scientific concepts that they will be taught in their schools during the academic year, as well as promote self-confidence among the campers in science and math,” said Jansen Varnum.

Camp staff included Temple graduate and undergraduate students, middle school teachers, high school students and middle school camper leaders who have participated in multiple previous outreach programs.

The camp is sponsored and supported by the National Defense Education Program, the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Carderock Division and Temple University.