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Make Plans Now for Summer Camps at UTSI

The University of Tennessee Space Institute hosts student groups from elementary age to high schoolers throughout the year, but, in the summer, kids really flock to the UTSI campus to take part in our day camps. This year, UTSI is adding a new camp to the three well-established camps that have been very popular in the past few years, creating an exciting opportunity for students from the fourth grade through their senior year. If you love to learn new things, if rockets, lasers, and outer space are words that excite you, if you’d rather change the future than wait and see what it will bring, you should spend a week at UTSI this summer!

The first camp held this summer will be ASM Materials Camp for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors from June 23-27, 2008. Materials Camp gives high school students a chance to perform hands-on experiments working with actual equipment and research materials in the laboratory. Experiments will be led by UTSI professors and research staff, and will delve into the areas of lasers, rockets and jets, experimental materials, like carbon fiber, and much more. ASM Materials Camp will turn students into materials scientists for a week, studying “the stuff that things are made of,” and learning principles of applied math, physics and chemistry.

This camp is sponsored by ASM and the Center for Laser Applications Department at UTSI, so there is no cost for parents, even lunch is provided. However, students applying for ASM Materials Camp should have basic knowledge of algebra, chemistry and physics, and be able to describe why they want to learn more about engineering and materials science as a possible college major and career.

Computational Science Camp is a two-week class led by Camp Instructor Bob Gotwals, scheduled for June 30-July 11 for rising eighth and ninth graders. Gotwals explains the technologies, techniques, and tools of computational science and the close relationship between math and science, as well as a little computer programming during this exciting camp for the computer enthusiast. This camp is sponsored by UTSI’s Center for Laser Applications, so, again, there is no fee for parents. However, lunch is not provided, but will be available at the UTSI cafeteria at a very reasonable price.

The new camp debuting this summer is Tech Camp for rising sixth and seventh graders to be held July 14-18. Tech Camp will give students the chance to “try out” careers they might be interested in pursuing. This camp will provide interactive, hands-on projects that facilitate career awareness. Tech Camp will increase students’ knowledge of the many career choices available in the job market and open their eyes to the excitement of scientific discovery. This camp focuses on the importance of education and the skills employers are looking for in the workforce of today and in the future! Two special events planned for this camp include a tour of AEDC, and a tour of the UTSI Airport and Beechcraft Heritage Museum. The fee for this camp is $125, which covers meals, activities, transportation for field trips, and a T-shirt.

The last camp of the summer will be the ever-popular UTSI Science Camp, formerly called “mad-science camp.” Set for the week of July 28-Aug. 1, this camp for rising fourth and fifth graders fills up fast and is always a very fun week full of mad-cap experiments and hands-on learning. This year’s camp theme will be “Newton’s Laws of Motion.” Each day, the students will learn how physics and science apply to their everyday activities. The fee for this camp is $125, which covers meals, activities, and a T-shirt.

As with all enrichment programs and summer camps, space is limited and applications, available from your school office or from the UTSI website, must be turned in by May 1 to qualify for any the camps. Parents of applicants for ASM Materials Camp and Computational Science Camp will be notified by May 23, by letter, whether or not their child’s application was accepted for camp. UTSI Science Camp and Tech Camp slots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, so get your applications and fees in early! Please note that all UTSI summer camps are day camps, and parents must make arrangements for daily transportation to and from camp. For more information, contact Carole Thomas at UTSI at 393-7223 or visit UTSI’s website at

FRANKLIN COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOLERS STUDY LIQUID NITROGEN AT UTSI—UTSI graduate students Jason King (closest to camera) and James Germann are shown here performing an “experiment” for Franklin County seventh graders on March 5. Students watched with wonder and awe as a balloon full of air began to flatten and become hard and brittle as liquid nitrogen was poured over it. Seventh graders shown from left to right in the front row are Christopher Jones, Caleb Norris, Logan Combs, Martin Rutherford and Robert Dial. Shown in the back left to right are Emilia Carson, Anna Ingleburger, Kristen Daniel and Michael Stephens (standing). The group of about 30 seventh graders thoroughly enjoyed their visit to UTSI, full of scientific experiments and hands-on engineering projects. The seventh graders are the second group of Franklin County middle-schoolers to visit UTSI recently, as a group of eighth graders attended a similar UTSI experience in February. A group of Franklin County sixth graders are scheduled to come later in March. These groups were chosen based on TCAP scores, but another UTSI field trip is being planned for a day during Spring Break for any Franklin County 6-8th grade student who didn’t qualify, but wanted to participate.

–UTSI Photo

ENGINEERS FOR A DAY AT UTSI— UTSI hosted Coffee County high school students Jasmine Kelley, Mills Bishop, Brittany Blackburn, Aaron Webster, Ben Aaron, and Jamie Sain, shown above, left to right, with UTSI Research Associate Yelena White, as Engineers for a Day in February. The young engineers donned “bunny suits” to enter UTSI’s cleanroom, a controlled environment where air is ultra-filtered to prevent contamination of experiments and to facilitate the fabrication of micro- and nano-devices, as well as aiding in the smooth operation of laser equipment.

–UTSI Photo by Carole Thomas