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New outlook on education ‘STEM’s from UIU Camp

Youth from a four-county area further discovered it can be fun to study, explore and experiment in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics during the Summer STEM Camp at Upper Iowa University in Fayette Wednesday-Friday, June 17-19.

Each day, the camp featured different STEM-related areas of study (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). The campers learned about microbes and how to isolate DNA during “Microbiology/Molecular Biology.”  In addition, “Food Chemistry” provided the students the opportunity to explore the various types and amounts of protein in foods. Meanwhile, the youth learned about computer programming and how robots can help solve problems during “Cyber Camp.”

“It made me happy to see that these young people were curious to discover how the world works and enjoyed taking the time to explore it,” said William Jones, UIU assistant professor of biology, who served as camp counselor.

“Speaking for myself, I hope that the students came away from this experience with a larger view of the world and the future that lies before them,” he added. “I hope that one or more of the STEM activities that they participated in sparks an interest in each of them and they begin to imagine a life for themselves in a STEM-related field.”

Jones noted that from an individual student’s perspective a significant percentage of employment opportunities require that a person have a background in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. Therefore, he emphasized individuals with such skills will have a larger variety of jobs to choose from now and in the future.

Secondly, the UIU professor reported the economy as a whole is becoming increasingly dependent upon STEM-related activities. Consequently, for the nation to have a healthy economic future an increasing number of individuals will need the required STEM skills.

“No matter how these students participate in the future of our economy, as citizens they will be repeatedly faced with issues that are at their core, STEM-related,” he closed. “In order to effectively exercise their rights and duties as citizens, students will need a science, technology, engineering or mathematics background to understand the issues and make informed decisions.”

Upper Iowa University is a STEM Jobs Approved College. The special recognition is for colleges and universities that provide broad and innovative STEM degree options for undergraduate students, actively recruit underrepresented and under-prepared students into STEM degrees, as well as offer targeted student support systems and career services to help students succeed.

Photos from the camp can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/upperiowauniversity/albums.

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