Science in the Summer: HPU’s STEM Camp Kicks off for Local Kids


Above: Ashwaq Althubity, a graduate student in HPU’s Stout School of Education (right), leads (from left to right) Adam Koonce, Riley Lemons and Sean Edwards, rising fifth-graders at the North Carolina Leadership Academy, through a rocket building activity. 

HIGH POINT, N.C., June 19, 2017 – Riley Robinson began building her rocket today at High Point University’s STEM Camp with the end result in mind.

“I love science,” the soon-to-be sixth-grader at Southwest Middle School said while she assembled parts and pieces inside HPU’s Stout School of Education. “My friend came to this camp last year and asked if I could come with her because she really liked it. The launching of this rocket is what I’m looking forward to the most.”

Robinson is one of 70 children attending the camp, which kicked off today. The camp runs each weekday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., until the finale on June 29. A rocket launch, visit from a “mad scientist” and celebration of all that the children have learned this summer will be held at 9 a.m. on June 29.

For Nadir Stukes, attending the camp was about his future career.

“I want to be an engineer like my dad or a business owner,” said Stukes, a Northern Guilford Middle School student. “I’m learning a lot about how to follow directions during a scientific experiment today.”

This is the third year in a row that graduate students in the Stout School of Education have organized the camp, alongside Dr. Shirley Disseler, associate professor, and Dr. Tess Hegedus, assistant professor.

And for the graduate students leading the activities, the hands-on experience prepares them to lead in their future classrooms.

“The camp allows us to interact with the children and apply lesson plans we’ve built,” says Cassie Wodecki, a Statesville, North Carolina, native and graduate student. “I’ll definitely be using these lessons and activities in my future classroom. I see students learning more when they’re active and engaged, and this gives them a completely hands-on opportunity.”

Disseler, known on campus as the “Lego Lady” because of the numerous STEM and Lego events that she and her HPU students hold for local schools and children, says she hopes to continue growing the camp and adding new initiatives.

“We’ve updated our activities to explore beyond the basics of physics, so we’re getting into DNA and other areas this year,” she says. “We’ve had so many requests from parents for these camps and more, and we have children who want to return each summer. Our goal is to continue growing and expanding.”

But its core goal remains the same, Disseler says.

“I’ve always said that you can’t learn without laughing. Laughter leads to creativity. Creativity leads to engagement. Engagement leads to motivation. And motivation leads to learning. If you can’t laugh, then you can’t learn. We want our children to enjoy this process of embracing STEM concepts.”

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