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.”

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.