Dr. Samuel T. Lopez
director of the Enhancing Access to Higher Education Project, 308.865.8179
Fourth and fifth graders in seven Nebraska communities are exploring the sciences in a series of week-long Summer Science Camps, according to Dr. Samuel Lopez, director of the Enhancing Access to Higher Education Project at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
“We are trying to help them be successful in science, a subject that these students may normally shy away from,” Dr. Lopez said. “We are hoping to spark their interest in science.”
According to Lopez, the camps focus on physics and chemistry with “hands-on” experiments related to acids and bases. The experiments explore the properties of water and momentum, as well as potential and kinetic energy.
Each week, the camps culminate with an “egg drop challenge” in which each camper builds a protective container for their egg, then drops it three meters. The camper with the surviving egg wins. Winners are announced during an awards banquet at the end of the week.
The camps are designed primarily to help minority students gain an interest in science. Participants are selected based on an application/recommendation process that is done through their teachers.
Camps were held in Gordon, Alliance, Hastings and Schuyler before coming to the UNK campus, where students from Lexington, Kearney and Grand Island attend.
The camp is made possible through the Enhancing Access to Higher Education Project at UNK and is funded through a U.S. Department of Education grant.
In addition to Dr. Lopez, the camp staff includes: Juan Guzman of Grand Island, the assistant director, as well as three instructors and four counselors. They include:
Fangmeyer is a 4th-6th grade teacher with Giltner Public Schools.
Girard, a Sunrise Middle School science teacher, is the primary instructor for the summer
camps. He is also an adjunct science methods instructor at UNK.
VanMoorleghem will be a 7th grade resource teacher in Grand Island this fall. Last year,
she worked in the Gretna public school system.
Andazola, a new counselor to the camp this year, is a UNK education major.
Barcenas, a para-educator, works with Hispanic at-risk youth at Grand Island Central High
School and is an education major at UNK.
Holman, a UNK graduate with a degree in biology, is working towards an optometry degree.