Forensics, Robotics Among Activities at UH Summer STEM Camps

Camps Strive to Cultivate Interest in Science and Engineering, Encourage Pursuit of Higher Education

From exploring the magic behind Hollywood’s special effects to discovering the mysteries behind crime scene investigations, three summer camps at the University of Houston bring science and engineering to life for students in grades five through eight.

UH STEM camp lab experimentAll affiliated with UH’s teachHOUSTON math and science teacher preparation program, the camps are designed to encourage young people to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Each camp will provide opportunities for hands-on experimentation, networking with STEM professionals, field trips and exposure to college life.

A returning favorite for its 15th year at UH is the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. The camp seeks budding scientists and engineers interested in sharpening their skills alongside STEM professionals and former astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., the first African-American to walk in space and camp founder. Harris created the all-expenses-paid, two-week camp to offer a dynamic summertime learning experience to underserved youth that explores how science impacts daily life.

Throughout the camp, students live on campus and participate in interactive, inquiry-based classes taught by university faculty, secondary teachers and other professionals. Campers also have the opportunity to explore local museums, nature centers and ecosystems, discovering science at work in their communities. With a variety of hands-on experiments planned, students will see firsthand how STEM can come alive through real-world applications.

Held June 7-19, the camp will accept 48 students to attend. To be eligible, students must be entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades in fall 2015; have received median-to-superior scores on standardized math and science tests; and submit two teacher recommendations. The application deadline is April 3. Students can find application information at

UH STEM camp computer roboticsIn addition to the Bernard Harris camp, two day camp options also are available, offering several dates throughout June and July.

Named for retired astronaut and director of the UH STEM Center, The Bonnie J. Dunbar STEM Academy at teachHOUSTON curriculum incorporates STEM design projects and engaging lessons that encourage innovative thinking. The academy aims to increase students’ STEM skills and introduce them to college life, stimulating their interest in science, technology, engineering and math as potential career paths.

Each day, students will attend rigorous courses and go on campus excursions to foster and develop their problem-solving, research and communication skills in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental sciences, earth sciences, math, engineering and design. Campers will be given an opportunity to design, build and program robots to accomplish both simple and complex tasks, tap into their imaginations using engineering principles to design and build solutions to everyday problems, and explore physics through demonstrations and hands-on activities to help them learn about space travel.

Open to students entering seventh or eighth grades in fall 2015, the non-residential camp takes place the weeks of June 15-19, June 22- 26, July 6-10 and July 13-17. Students will be accepted by a selection committee that will look at an applicant’s interest in STEM, involvement in academic clubs and extracurricular activities, and teacher recommendations. The registration deadline is May 22. The link to register is

Another non-residential camp is the Cougar STEM Camp, offering children a chance to get out from behind their desks and into the action by exploring forensics, movie making and physics. Each week will feature a specific theme. Putting on their detective hats, campers will dive into forensic science by looking at the mysteries of crime scenes, collecting, analyzing and examining evidence such as fingerprints, hairs, fibers and DNA to solve crimes. They also will have an opportunity to explore the math and science behind the Hollywood stunts, special effects and sets that bring movies to life. Another activity will focus on creating and building electrical circuits and exploring statistical processes.

Open to all students entering fifth or sixth grade in fall 2015, the camp will offer weeklong sessions June 22-26, July 6-10, July 13-17 and July 20-24. The application deadline is May 22. The link to register is

With discounts offered for those attending multiple weeks, the cost of the Dunbar and Cougar camps for one week is $350, two weeks is $600 and three weeks is $750. For additional registration information, email or call 713-743-8644.

By providing students with access to fun learning opportunities, inspirational role models and gifted teachers, the camp organizers not only hope to cultivate interest in STEM, but also encourage Houston-area youth to pursue higher education and become the next generation of innovative problem solvers.

To see a video of camp highlights, visit


About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 40,900 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit the university’s newsroom.

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