Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Writer: Shanna Relford

UTSI’s First Tech Camp a Science Celebration

The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s Center for Laser Applications (CLA) spearheaded a new science camp, called Tech Camp, for sixth and seventh graders this summer. These campers enjoyed a week full of adventures in areas of science and technology both on campus at UTSI and on several field trips spread throughout the week. On the first day of camp, CLA Director Dr. Bill Hofmeister introduced campers to the journey of scientific discovery that awaited them just before the group toured CLA’s clean room, laser labs and vacuum chamber.

Later in the week students also toured UTSI’s airport facility, where they learned about some of the research carried out in airborne laboratories by UTSI’s Aviation Systems program. For more lofty learning, campers went on an extensive tour of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, located near the Tullahoma Airport. While visiting the Tennessee Correctional Academy, inquisitive students learned all about the process of fingerprinting. The campers also toured UTSI neighbor Arnold Engineering Development Center, where they viewed the wind tunnels and learned about satellite testing procedures.

Tech campers were also involved in several activities and hands-on experiences each day of camp. In fact, the first day of camp was highlighted with the opportunity to climb a giant rock wall erected in UTSI’s front circle especially for the camp. Other activities included making rock candy crystals, various demonstrations with liquid nitrogen, and making helicopters, airplanes and rockets. Students designed and raced their own solar cars, and took turns riding on hovercrafts designed and built by UTSI students. The action-packed week ended in a blast-off challenge, when campers designed bottle rockets and a contest was held to see whose rocket would take off at the greatest velocity.

TECH CAMP’S ROCK CLIMBING WALL–Rock climbing was one of the most adventurous activities provided for students during Tech Camp. A few students were skittish of the challenge, but not these three students. Pictured on the rock wall from left to right are Jim Kershner, Alisha Tillman, and Caroline Emery.  — UTSI Photo by Shanna Relford

ROCK CANDY CRYSTALIZATION EXPERIMENT—One of many experiments students participated in during Tech Camp, campers are shown above watching intently as UTSI Summer Intern Ellen Bomar pours hot liquid rock candy that they would observe crystallizing over the next few days of camp. Campers shown from left to right are Lucas Moore, Nathan Ledford, Sam Wright, and Caroline Emery. — UTSI Photo by Shanna Relford

CHECKING OUT THE PLANE—Appearing to be ready for takeoff, Campers Nathan Ledford and Jim Kershner, Biology Teacher Olivia Parrish, and Camper Cortney Thomas are shown here (clockwise from left front) in a plane at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma. — UTSI Photo by Jolene Brandon

MAKING HELICOPTERS—During their tour of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum students got to design and fly their own “helicopters”. Pictured (left to right) above getting their supplies are Peyton Meeks, Michael Andrews, Sam Wright, Brandon Newman and Cortney Thomas. — UTSI Photo by Jolene Brandon

RIDING THE HOVERCRAFT—Tech Camper Haley Grant is shown above cruising on one of the hovercrafts with assistance from UTSI Graduate Research Assistant Justin Crawford. — UTSI Photo by Shanna Relford

UTSI TECH CAMP 2008—Pictured just after building their bottle rocket creations and just before blasting them off are Tech Camp staffers and campers. Shown from left to right, back row, are UTSI Graduate Students Will Robinson, Nick Lister, Joel Thompson, and Jason King, Campers Brenan Bailey, Courtney Hale, Montana Bieder, Alisha Tillman, Bailey Basham, Haley Grant, Lucas Moore, Mary Allison Bennett, Caroline Emery, and Cortney Thomas, UTSI Graduate Students MaryBeth Parker, Kelly Carter, and Justin Crawford, Summer Intern Marie Jarvis, and UTSI Graduate Student William Yue.  The front row shows UTSI Business Manager for the Center for Laser Applications Carole Thomas and Biology Teacher Olivia Parish with Campers Kathryne Schantz, Jacob Stevens, Cole Bauer, Peyton Meeks, Graham Smith, Sam Wright, Jim Kershner, Clark Dixon, Nathan Ledford, Brandon Newman, and Michael Andrews. Not pictured are Campers Jenna Davis and Sam Smith. –UTSI Photo by Shanna Relford