High school students in Indiana are discovering that summertime STEM classes are free and fun. Instructors use a combination of real life facts and humor when encouraging teens to participate in hands-on activities and experiments. Subjects include chemistry, biology, geoplogy, and computer information systems.
Approximately 50 teens participated in the free summer STEM camp which was held at the Indiana University Northwest campus in Gary.
One of the experiments that intrigued 16 year old Lois Sadlowski, a Hammond Baptist High School senior, was finding the DNA of strawberries, and filtering the strawberries to obtain the DNA.
“I like science. I’m not really sure what I want to do, but I do enjoy biology,” said Sadlowski.
Another project which was popular with students was making and launching bottle rockets. They also appreciated the opportunity to have more detailed instruction in computer science than before.
The National Science Foundation made the camp possible through an award given to six universities which partnered in sharing a $4.8 million grant encouraging STEM careers among minorities and women. Indiana University’s share is $470,000 and will be administered over the next five years, according to Professor Bhaskara Kopparty, IUN’s chairman of the Department of Computer Information Systems.
“We want to encourage minorities’ interest in STEM fields,” he said.