Campus News

Youth Return to Campus for UK STEM Experiences Camps

Photo provided by UK College of Education
Photo provided by UK College of Education.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 23, 2021) — Students in second grade through high school were back on the University of Kentucky campus this summer for in-person STEM Experiences camps. The program also hosted two weeks of virtual camps, giving students the chance to take part from any location. 

For 11 years, STEM Experiences camps have given youth opportunities to get a sneak peak of what it feels like to learn in university classrooms. The UK College of Education’s Dickey Hall and Taylor Education Building were once again buzzing with excitement and innovation after the camp moved to a virtual platform last year due to COVID-19 precautions.  

During the weeklong day camps, diverse groups of youth explored science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities. They took part in hands-on experiences and built foundations for becoming future mathematicians, chemists, scientists or computer programmers. 

“Often, students grow up feeling they do not belong in the STEM community, and that can be particularly true for non-white, non-male people,” said Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, a UK College of Education associate dean and professor in the Department of STEM Education who co-founded the program in 2010. “By bringing a diverse group of students to the UK campus each year, we are working to disrupt the systems that make some people feel as if STEM is not for them.” 

UK STEM Experiences is a collaboration among UK's Colleges of Education, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences. This summer, the STEM Experiences program hosted STEM Camp, Vex Robotics Camp, Lego Robotics Camp and Chem Camp.  

“Students don’t need to have a love for STEM subjects to take part, but we hope they leave with an increased interest and confidence through learning to collaborate, build trust and apply STEM concepts to real-world challenges,"  Mohr-Schroeder said. We give them an informal, low-stakes environment to explore and make sure every student is able to show their brilliance in STEM.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.