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Summer at UT Releases Youths’ Inner Scientists

Summer at UT Releases Youths’ Inner Scientists

Families searching for fun and educational program options this summer need look no further than the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. 

The college offers a range of summer camps and programs for children and teens in third grade up through high school. Participants will get hands-on exposure to a variety of science topics, including physics, computer science, biology, mathematics and marine science. Some of the offerings are even free.

First Bytes and Code Longhorn

Campers get hands-on programming experience, meet professional computer scientists, visit research labs, play games and enjoy campus life at each one-week summer residential program in computer science. Participants—high school girls at First Bytes and students from underrepresented populations at Code Longhorn—approach computers as a tool for solving real-world problems in medicine, the arts, and more, while learning about the wide variety of job opportunities in computer science.

First Bytes is part of a larger initiative to increase the role of women in computer science, and since it began in 2002, the number of women enrolled in UT computer science courses has increased significantly. In fact, a quarter of incoming female computer science majors this year participated in First Bytes. Code Longhorn, a new camp this year, follows a similar model for underrepresented students

Who can participate: Female high school students in sophomore or junior year with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and Texas residency are eligible for First Bytes. Code Longhorn is for students from underrepresented populations. Students must apply for each.
Registration: Deadline for applications is March 23, 2016
Program dates: Camp Longhorn — June 12–18; First Bytes — June 19–25, 2016.
Location: UT campus
Cost: Free
Other details: Residential/overnight program
Website: apps.cs.utexas.edu/camp/firstbytes and apps.cs.utexas.edu/camp/code-longhorn 

High School Summer Research Academy

High school students get the chance to spend several weeks at UT Austin participating in cutting-edge research in one of two programs: Research Methods or Research Academy. 

Research Methods is a four-week program designed for students with little or no experience in the lab. They are introduced to the process of doing science and learn how to design experiments, collect and analyze data, and present and evaluate their results. Students conduct hands-on activities and talk with researchers from all disciplines before getting to choose and design their own scientific inquiry project. 

In Research Academy more advanced students are placed in a faculty member's laboratory. These students participate in many facets of research and have the potential to make a meaningful contribution to ongoing research on the UT Austin campus, a rare opportunity for high school students. 

Who can participate: High school students
Registration: Deadline is April 1, 2016
Program dates: June 6–Aug. 19, 2016, see the High School Summer Research Academy website for details
Location: UT campus
Cost: Fee structures for Summer 2016 have not been set, but costs to participate will not exceed $1,000. Some scholarships available.
Other details: Research Methods classes are 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Research Academy hours will be up to individual faculty members.
Website: cns.utexas.edu/tides/students/summer-research-academy

UTeach Summer Camps 

Children can find their inner scientist, mathematician or engineer at one of UTeach's day camps, offered for either one week or six weeks and designed for students in grades 5–10. 

In the one-week Research in Life Science Camp, students in grades 5–6 explore cutting-edge research on the UT campus in innovative topics such as neuroscience, biology, anatomy and environmental sciences. 

The six-week long camps offered are: 

UT PREP camp for students in grades 6–7 interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students explore a number of scientific disciplines in collaboration with faculty labs from all across UT. Once students have completed the UT PREP 1 course, they are encouraged to return the following summers to participate in UT PREP 2–4. 

Research & Statistics Camp for students in grades 8–9, who will explore UT labs while working on a research project of their choosing. 

Engineering & Computer Science Camp for students in grades 9–10. These students will explore concepts in engineering, programming, technology development and more, and will interact with industry professionals and UT researchers.

Who can participate: Students in grades 5-10 in the Austin area
Registration: Currently open and will run until camps are full
Program dates: Research in Life Science Camp is Aug. 1–4, 2016. All other camps are Monday–Thursday, June 13–July 28, with no camp July 4–7.
Location: UT PREP 1 will be at ACC Eastview, ACC Riverside and UT campus. All other camps will be on the UT campus.
Cost: Research in Life Science Camp is $400, all other camps are $1,700. UT faculty/staff discount available. Full or partial scholarships are available for UT PREP camps only.
Other details: Camp hours are 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., with some aftercare options.
Website: outreach.uteach.utexas.edu/summer-camps

UT Summer Science (in Port Aransas)

An exciting, inquiry-based learning experience for students entering the third through eighth grades, UT Summer Science matches students with UT marine scientists for experiences in hands-on science outside of the classroom. Participants gain a deep personal appreciation for the marine environment, become aware of local and global threats to the oceans, learn to solve complex problems using the scientific method and gain insight into what it truly means to be a scientist. 

Four week-long programs will cover two different themes: "Become an Ocean Explorer!" and "Connecting to the Oceans." Students may register for one week only or two weeks with different themes. 

Who can participate: Students entering the third through eighth grades
Registration: Residents of the coastal bend may begin registering February 15. Open registration will begin March 7.
Program dates: June 6–10, June 13–17, June 20–24 and June 27–July 1
Location: UT Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, Texas
Cost: $30 for grades 3–4 and $60 for grades 5–8
Other details: Camp hours are 10 a.m.–noon for grades 3–4 and 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. for grades 5–8
Website: utmsi.utexas.edu/visit/summer-science/port-aransas-texas

Alice in Wonderland

This summer outreach program from the Department of Physics gives high school girls an inside view of physics and involves students in research so they can decide whether they would like to pursue physics as a career. The program offers challenging problem-solving and expands students' sense of the possibilities in physics, while also allowing for plenty of fun.

Alice in Wonderland begins in June with a short course led by UT faculty and graduate students, which covers subjects from computer modeling and quantum mechanics to scanning tunneling microscopy and thin film growth. Afterwards, students work in faculty labs in the Department of Physics where they get the chance to participate in ongoing research for anywhere from a month to the whole summer. 

Who can participate: Female high school students
Registration and program dates: Dates TBA in late February on the Alice in Wonderland website
Location: UT campus
Cost: Free
Other details: Classes are 10 a.m.–noon, while work in the labs is up to individual faculty members
Website: sites.cns.utexas.edu/aliceinwonderland

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