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Education

Students Explore Getting Humans To Mars At The University Of Wyoming's Teton STEM Academy

Haley Sessions, middle standing, a UW alumna from Meeteetse and a Teton STEM Academy counselor, leads a group of female students through an exercise using a radiometer to measure the inner and outer limits of a planet’s distance to a star. Pictured, clockwise from left, are Jaysha Chavez, of Rock Springs; Samantha DeClercq, of Riverton; Nathan Morgan, a UW graduate from Laramie and a camp counselor; Stella Wayte, of Casper; Selma Piri, of Laramie; and Mackenzie Jones, of Lyman.
University of Wyoming
Haley Sessions, middle standing, a UW alumna from Meeteetse and a Teton STEM Academy counselor, leads a group of female students through an exercise using a radiometer to measure the inner and outer limits of a planet’s distance to a star. Pictured, clockwise from left, are Jaysha Chavez, of Rock Springs; Samantha DeClercq, of Riverton; Nathan Morgan, a UW graduate from Laramie and a camp counselor; Stella Wayte, of Casper; Selma Piri, of Laramie; and Mackenzie Jones, of Lyman.

The University of Wyoming Teton STEM Academy just wrapped up its eight-day residential STEM camp for Wyoming's 10th and 11th graders.

Chip Kobulnicky, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Wyoming and the camp's co-director, said this year's theme is about making a journey to Mars, because it is a timely and exciting topic in the science and engineering field. Twenty-four campers spent their summer working in teams to explore the science and technology to get human beings to Mars.

"We know this is an impressionable age where people form their choices of careers and future plans about college and higher education. And so we want to introduce them to the UW campus. Help them see the wide range of resources that UW has and help them see college as part of their future," Kobulnicky said.

The purpose of the camp is to give the youth an experience in STEM, conducting experiments in the life science, physical science, engineering and math fields, and using labs on the UW campus. Kobulnicky hopes the camp is able to excite students about STEM, and attending college, especially young women.

"[They are] people who often don't feel empowered or represented in STEM fields. We want to make sure that the young women of Wyoming feel that science and engineering are very much for them as well and I'm just encouraged about our future because of these bright and inquisitive and exciting young people," Kobulnicky added.

Kobulnicky commended the campers for being curious and stepping up to the challenge in tackling activities that are usually for college freshmen. He also said that the camp is one of UW's best recruiting tools as it helps students and families get comfortable with the university.

This story is supported by a grant through Wyoming EPSCoR and the National Science Foundation.

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