STEM Camp

STEM Symbols
The University of Evansville Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics departments will jointly host an inaugural high school STEM camp in 2022. Rising 9th to 12th grade students who are interested in hands-on exploration of STEM concepts and applications are encouraged to attend.

STEM Topics

Energy in molecules
The amount of energy a molecule has depends on its temperature, and this determines the types of motion available to a molecule.  At a given temperature, a molecule may undergo translational, rotational, and vibrational motion.  We will determine the speed of sound in a few gases, which, surprisingly, will tell us how the energy of a molecule is distributed among these three types of motion.  Our results will show that vibrational motion occurs at relatively high energies, and molecules at normal temperatures may not have enough energy to undergo much vibrational motion.  We will then obtain the infrared spectrum of a small molecule by directly examining the energy levels that arise from rotational and vibrational motion.  Our study of molecular energy will conclude by simulating our infrared spectrum with a computer program written in python.

Ecological Interactions
Butterfly and purple flowerNative diversity has great value, including providing essential ecosystem services. Unfortunately, habitat destruction has led to the loss of wetlands, prairies, and forests, reducing benefits we get from nature. Those losses also mean we see fewer native plant species, fewer herbivores & pollinators, and fewer plant-insect interactions. Through an experience in the University of Evansville’s native plant garden, students will learn to identify plants, animals, and species interactions. Students will extend this experience in a later project where students perform DNA barcoding on insect samples. 

DNA barcoding
You will get a first-hand understanding of how DNA barcoding is routinely used to study the earth’s biodiversity. After collecting insects from the native plant garden, you will extract and amplify DNA from your samples, then send the DNA samples for sequencing at a commercial facility. Finally, you will use bioinformatics techniques to analyze the DNA samples and identify the species that you collected. You will also learn other applications of DNA sequencing, and how data science tools are used to analyze large quantities of DNA sequence data. 

Using Data Science to make sense of the world
It seems like everything we do is collected and stored as data. From streaming shows to shopping to healthcare to the use of our devices. But for what purpose? Companies, organizations, the government, and any other entity that uses data are trying to extract value and meaning from that data. They use sophisticated techniques to be able to learn more about you and your habits. In this session, students will begin to see the power of statistics and data science and how they can use it to benefit their own lives.

The biophysics of drugs and their targets
Understanding the atomic structure of large molecules like DNA and proteins is key to developing drugs to cure disease. Through a game-based activity, students will learn how a fundamental law of thermodynamics governs the structure of these important biomolecules. We will then see it in action as we use modern web-based software to visualize key protein components of various biological systems and show how defects in these can cause various diseases.

 

Career Discovery and College Prep

  • Use Design Thinking to figure out who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you might want to do with your life
  • Learn about the career paths available to STEM majors
  • Meet with current UE students to learn what research they’re doing this summer, and what they plan to do after college
  • Learn about the college admissions and financial aid processes

More

Camp fees include a camp T-shirt, lunch on campus, opportunities to check out what’s happening in the dance and music camps on campus, and more!

Joyce Stamm, Professor/Biology

Dr. Joyce Stamm

Professor/Biology

Koch Center for Engineering and Science, Room 216
812-488-2029
js383@evansville.edu

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