Renata Burnett was at a loss for words when her daughter, Valentina, completed the Young Science Explorers Program (YSEP), a youth science camp for Maryland students entering the seventh and eighth grade. “Valentina really liked the camp. It meant a lot to her,” said Burnett about her daughter’s involvement, “She could not wait to be there.”
Valentina, a rising seventh grader at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Germantown, was one of 39 students participating in YSEP, a program that is celebrating its fifth consecutive year of teaching laboratory science and raising awareness of science-based careers.
YSEP 2013 featured a completely revamped curriculum developed by Reimi Hicks, MdBio Foundation’s Instructional Design Specialist. Of the new curriculum Hicks stated, “We used student comments and evaluation results from the 2012 YSEP program to design new, inquiry-based activities that utilize technology and small group work to help prepare campers for the comprehensive laboratory experiments at the end of each day.”
Campers also explored different science-related careers in the state of Maryland through visits to MedImmune, QIAGEN, Emergent BioSolutions, Procter & Gamble, University of Maryland BioPark, and BreakAway. At each visit, campers were able to directly interact with the state’s leading scientists while learning about pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, manufacturing, and design.
Preliminary evaluation results show that YSEP participants demonstrated significant gains in content knowledge and awareness of science-based careers. The program was possible, in part, due to contributions from MedImmune, Montgomery College, and Towson University’s Center for STEM Excellence.