$248,000 US Department of Education Grant Helps Minority and Low Income Children

Dr. Samuel Lopez
assistant professor of health, physical education and recreation, (office) 308.865.8179 or (at camp) 308.440.3165

Minority and low income children, fourth through sixth grades, in seven Nebraska communities are learning anatomy and physiology this summer in week-long camps sponsored by the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The camps are offered to minority and low income students and others who could become first generation college attendees, according to Dr. Samuel Lopez, UNK assistant professor of health, physical education and recreation. The camps are made possible through a $248,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

More than 30 youth attend each camp, according to Dr. Lopez. The seven communities served by the grant include: Gordon , Alliance , Hastings , Schuyler , Kearney , Lexington  and Grand Island . Camps are held in each of the first four communities–Gordon, Alliance, Hastings and Schuyler. Youth from Kearney, Lexington and Grand Island will attend sessions on the UNK campus. Students attending from Grand Island  and Lexington  are provided transportation. According to Dr. Lopez, the first two camps, held earlier this month in Gordon and Alliance, have been very positive.

“It’s going well,” Dr. Lopez said. “The kids are excited and seem to like what they’re doing.”

This summer marks the third year UNK has sponsored the academic camps. This year’s topics are anatomy and physiology, subjects different from past years.

“The first year we had the camp, the kids studied bio sciences,” Dr. Lopez said, “Last year, it was chemistry and physics, and now we’re doing something different.” The $248,000 grant is a supplement to the initial $900,000 Expanding Access to Higher Education grant that was awarded to UNK in 2003. The grant covers materials used in the camps and staff compensation.

“It’s a lot more fun having the camp be a hands-on experience,” Dr. Lopez said. “We hope it’s an educational experience as well.”

The camp’s three instructors, Greg Girard of Kearney , Kristin Fangmeyer of Grand Island  and Barry Fangmeyer who teaches in Giltner,  all lead instruction while four UNK students assist as camp counselors. Camp counselors for this summer are Manuel Andazola of Grand Island , Jose Perea of Grand Island , Sheila Garrett of Central City  and Stacy Gewecke of Kearney .