Camping is fun, even in a classroom setting

KAMS cooking

06/21/16
By Diane Gasper-O'Brien
University Relations and Marketing
HAYS, Kan. - High school students entering ninth and 10th grades this fall are getting a glimpse of college life at Fort Hays State University this summer.

Up to 30 students could sign up for one or more of six Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science summer camps during the month of June.

The KAMS camp program, in its second year, gives youngsters a chance to learn about science and math in a fun environment.

This year's six choices were Computer Animation, Chemistry of Cooking, Becoming An Everyday Mathematician, Roots and Wings Biology Camp, Google Cardboard Virtual Reality, and Capturing the Storm: Learning the Basics of Meteorology and Storm Photography.

FHSU faculty teach each of the camp sessions, while FHSU students serve as counselors and other assistants. In addition to living in Custer Hall, students are also given a campus tour and get to rub elbows each day with folks who call Fort Hays State home.

A $100 registration fee gets each student room and board for five days, camp supplies and a T-shirt.

"They get the lifestyle of a college student," said Ann Noble, KAMS financial administrator who oversees the camps. "They get to experience college faculty, college students and college facilities."

Some like the experience so well that they keep coming back.

Hap Waddell participated in the maximum number of two camps this summer. He will be a sophomore at Marion High School this fall, and he is entertaining the idea of returning to the FHSU campus full time his junior year.

KAMS is the state's premier academic high school program for the state's best and brightest students who study at Fort Hays State full time their junior and senior years. They receive college-level instruction and a high school diploma along with 68 hours college credit.

Waddell said his high school biology teacher told him about the camps, and he signed up to make the two and a half hour hour trip from home for the Computer Animation and Chemistry of Cooking sessions.

During his first visit to campus, Waddell and his fellow campers used an object-based educational programming language to produce a short animation movie.

"I'm more of a math person, and I thought that particular camp was going to be different animation," he said. "But I still enjoyed it."

Waddell knew he would like the second camp, too.

"I enjoy baking in my free time, so that was one I really wanted to do," said Waddell, who is interested in studying architectural engineering.

The camps are run by Fort Hays State graduate students Regina Tolbert, the camps director, and Amber Isom, who is in charge of evening activities.

"I think it's a good experience for everyone involved," Noble said.

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