Second annual 21st Century Kids Camp held at Penn State Shenango

Penn State Shenango, in conjunction with Penn State Erie, held its second annual 21st Century Kids Camp on June 16 and 18. The two-day summer STEM camp program included 16 students in grades six, seven and eight from Hermitage, Sharon, Farrell and West Middlesex School Districts. The STEM camp focused on disciplines and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Students were welcomed to Penn State Shenango by Apryl Gilliss, associate director of Continuing Education. The group of students was then split into two smaller cohorts, one being accompanied to the campus' computer technology lab in Sharon Hall by Lisa Bertin, instructor in information, sciences and technology, and the second group being led to the campus' new Digital Commons classroom by Greg Singer, information technology manager, and Bruce Rayner, information technology specialist.

Bertin introduced her group to Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID), while the students in Singer's and Rayner's class were given a pre-scripted Penn State fact which they read out loud while being recorded using the campus' new high tech equipment. These students were then led to the video processing room where they were shown how to convert their recording into a DVD. At the end of the workshop, each student was given a DVD which contained all the students' video recordings. After completing their first morning workshop, the students switched classrooms.

Following the morning session, the students were given a tour of the campus by Jammie Tomasone, Penn State admissions counselor.

The afternoon session, which focused on workshops in engineering and math, was presented by Angelo Giannini, instructor in business administration, and John Abraham, instructor in mathematics. Giannini spoke to the groups about his career as an engineer while Abraham worked with the students on probabilities using M&Ms. The first day concluded with Charlene Smith from CareerLink speaking to the students about STEM careers.

The second day of camp, students departed from Penn State Shenango by bus to Penn State Erie, where they took part in several interactive workshops which focused on topics such as engineering, math and psychology. Following lunch, students traveled by bus to Asbury Woods Nature Center where they were given a guided tour of their "green" building and participated in a watershed assessment of Walnut Creek, including biological, chemical and physical assessments.

According to Gilliss, "The students really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot about STEM disciplines and careers. We appreciated the support we received with this program from David Tomko, elementary school teacher with Sharon City School District. We look forward to offering this program again next year and possibly expanding it."

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Last Updated November 18, 2010