UNM-LA Hosts 120 Students in Summer Program

Laura Swartz, certified handler from the Raptor Center of Santa Fe, shows off a Great Horned Owl during the Summer Program for Youth at UNM-LA. Photo by Vint Miller
 
By VINT MILLER
UNM-Los Alamos

The UNM-LA campus has been abuzz with students from grades one through 12, participating in the Summer Program for Youth, which ran July 29 through Aug. 1.

The program, now in its 25th year, provides exciting, hands-on, activity-based learning sessions focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM.)

The eight classes offered included the study of rocks, coding, animals, movie-making and cyber-security, each lasting four half-days.

“We tried to provide a selection of topics that included favorites from previous years as well as new subject matter and age-appropriate learning experiences,” Director of Community Education Eva Artschwager said. “The class, Working with Animals, generated a lot of attention because we had so many live creatures on our campus in one week.”

Artschwager helped facilitate visits from dogs, goats, falcons and great horned owls.

All of the classes have been popular and well-received, due to the outstanding teachers, volunteers and partners who have provided assistance for us at every step,” she said.

Organizations that participated or volunteered time included the Bradbury Science Museum, Assistance Dogs of the West, Raptor Center of Santa Fe, Debby Wood Goats  and the Animal Clinic of Los Alamos. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees also donated time during non-working hours.

The program offered classes in forensics, in which students used scientific principles to solve forensic cases, and Lifters and Launchers, in which students created a variety of devices for lifting and propelling objects. One of the most popular classes was the Robotics Antics, which allowed students to build and program robots using LEGO Mindstorm kits.

Parents of students were thrilled with the program, Artschwager said.

“They love it,” remarked one of the parents, who was picking up her second grader from the morning session and dropping off her seventh grader for the afternoon Basic Coding class.

The students themselves seemed to agree. “Thank you for giving us a good time,” one student said, referring to the animals class. “You provided us with lots of fun and learning.”

“This year we had 120 students on campus,” Artschwager said. “It was wonderful. We do need a few days to recover, but we are already thinking about what we would like to offer next summer.”

For more information about the Summer Program for Youth or other UNM-LA Community Education programs, contact Eva Artschwager at 505-663-3410 or visit http://losalamos.unm.edu/community-education.

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