Alabama State University’s Boot Camp Emphasizes STEM and More

The Alabama State University (ASU) – Birmingham City Schools GEAR UP STEM Summer Boot Camp provided students with the opportunity to connect classwork with engaging, hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in a two-week residential experience on the beautiful campus of ASU in Montgomery, AL.

The ASU – Birmingham City Schools GEAR UP STEM Summer Boot Camp hosted rising 10th grade students on June 3-15, 2018, and rising 11th grade students on June 17-29, 2018, from the Birmingham area, providing exciting experiences that included forensic science, pre-engineering, robotics, and computer information science. Boot campers also gained skills and knowledge in reading, writing, English, and mathematics. This is the third year that ASU has provided campers with the perfect opportunity to connect hands-on activities with applicable coursework in the STEM fields.  

Broderick Drake, a tenth grader from A.H. Parker High School, spoke about what he learned during his two-week experience. “I learned about the delta and ridge characteristics of finger prints. It is so interesting,” he commented as he reminisced on his learning related to forensic science.  

Additionally, Lauren Simpson, a tenth grader from P.D. Jackson Olin High School, said, “The ASU STEM camp not only assisted with teaching me about engineering, but it also focused on my social development and safety. One of the things I remember most is learning about college campus safety.” 

Students were assigned to a specific STEM discipline and received numerous hours of instruction led by top professors at ASU. Hands-on projects included creating hydraulic scissor lifts, mini drone demonstrations, video game programing, thin layer chromatography, presumptive blood testing, electrophoresis with dyes, foot impressions, and fingerprinting.

Daily schedules included breakfast, study time/lab time, lunch, instructional time, dinner, college life mentoring, and extra-curricular activities.

Alice McClain, ASU Program Coordinator of the ASU – Birmingham City Schools GEAR UP STEM Summer Boot Camp, attributes the success of the camp to a team of hard-working individuals, which included three lead counselors and three additional counselors, five resident assistants, six full-time local school teachers, and three faculty professors. 

ABOUT ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY – Alabama State University (ASU), founded in 1867, is a public historically black university located in Montgomery, Alabama, United States. ASU is a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Alabama State University (ASU) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) to award bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctorate degrees. ASU continues to persevere and flourish today and is a model of diversity and equal opportunity for all. 

Author: Dr. Marsha H. Savage

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