The Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) will help propel Arkansas’ youth into successful STEM futures, thanks to a grant from The Harris Foundation and ExxonMobil.
The $50,000 grant enables UALR to host a free two-week camp this summer for middle school students; it will be one of ten ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps taking place around the country. This is EIT’s eighth consecutive year hosting the camp.
Led by Executive Camp Director Vernard Henley, Jr., Assistant Dean of EIT, the two-week residential summer camp will host thirty-six (36) sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from all over the state. These STEM-curious attendees will participate in experiments, go on field excursions to reinforce the project-based curriculum, and problem solve around the theme “Imagineering Your Future.”
Rugenal Anderson-Lindsey, a veteran middle school educator, will serve as Camp Director. Mr. Henley and Ms. Anderson-Lindsey will give traditionally underrepresented groups access to STEM knowledge and opportunities that they may otherwise not have exposure to. To do this, the camp leaders will place special recruiting emphasis on the state’s most diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Additionally, UALR students, particularly those involved in the African American Male Initiative, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Hispanic/Latino Initiative, will be selected as group leaders for the camp.
Participants will stay on campus and attend classes and labs in UALR’s state-of-the-art instructional spaces. These classroom experiences will be interdisciplinary and interactive, covering math, chemistry, biology, physical science, engineering design, technology, and English. They will also tackle a major hands-on collaborative project on environmental engineering. When they’re not engaging in these lessons, the students will visit culturally and scientifically significant sites that are directly related to their camp project.
With these engaging activities, the camp directors want to give participants more than just a fun summer experience—they want to show them new possibilities for their futures. With Mr. Henley and Ms. Anderson-Lindsey’s encouragement, “students will learn to think in terms of how their imagination, [when] combined with the application of science and math concepts, can open up a whole new world of experiences and possibilities.”