UTSA, Texas Workforce Commission partner to offer summer science camp

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(July 19, 2010)--Nearly two dozen high school students participated last week in UTSA's third annual Governor's Science and Technology Champions Academy. Designed for statewide winners of the 2010 ExxonMobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair and their teachers, the summer camp is supported by the UTSA College of Sciences and Gov. Rick Perry through a $130,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

"The Champions Academy is not your average summer camp, and the topics on our agenda reflect that," said Aaron Cassill, UTSA director of STEM and associate professor of biology. "The idea is to show these kids that their science skills can be more than a hobby. Those skills are the building blocks for a fun and exciting career."

This year, the Governor's Science and Technology Champions Academy focused on biotechnology. Throughout the week, faculty in the UTSA Department of Biology and College of Engineering as well as community leaders offered campers and their teachers hands-on opportunities to learn about tissue engineering, viruses, brain imaging and astronomy. Other camp activities were focused on robotics, DNA fingerprinting and DNA manipulations.

The camp also offered an added bonus. Because participants stayed in Chaparral Village, a UTSA on-campus housing complex, and ate at the Roadrunner Cafe, UTSA's campus dining hall, they had a sneak peak of life as a college student -- a life that is sure to become a reality for the campers in just a year or two.