By GAYLE AGNEW
Three West Branch Middle School students have been chosen to attend the U.S. Department of Energy Science Camp in Oak Ridge, Tenn., from July 17 to 22.
The camp, hosted by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), provides students the opportunity to interact with ORNL scientists through state-of-the-art classroom technology at ORAU’s Center for Science Education on the ORAU campus.
Fifth-grader Ben St. John, 12; seventh-grader Bailey Loy, 13; and eighth-grader Brittany Ring, 14, are the only three students in grades 5-8 from Ohio to be chosen to attend the camp.
According to school counselor Kelly Warga, the Department of Energy is looking for people who had good grades in math and science. “They pay for gas money to the airport, the airplane ticket, and pay for all expenses for four full days at camp,” Warga said.
Bailey will go on a bus because he doesn’t want to fly while Ben and Brittany will travel via airplane.
According to the Department of Energy Science Camp website, research indicates that many students lose interest in studies related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics during the middle school years. But a new summer camp is attempting to “turn the tide” on that trend.
Twenty-three students and six teachers from nine Appalachian states came to East Tennessee during July to participate in the Appalachian Regional Commission/Oak Ridge Science Camp for middle school students.
During science camp, students and teachers engage in laboratory-based learning experiences with scientists. Research topics will be solar energy, alternative energy, engineering and robotics.
Brittany said she has been interested in science since third grade, “when I could understand what it meant.” At camp she wants to study plate tectonics — the study of oceans and continents moving apart and work on a rocket project. She would like to become a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology medicine (OBGYN) and might choose Ohio State University for college.
“I like all hands-on stuff,” Bailey said. When he grows up he might like to be a photographer. He likes keeping busy and plays football and basketball.
Ben wants to study robotics at camp. “I try not to blow up the house,” Ben said of his science experiments. He said he likes science because “it’s the study of everything you want to know.”
June 30, 2011
by Gayle Agnew