Brain Waves campers show off turtles collected at the USAO Habitat. The camp hosted more than 25 area youth between the third and seventh grade with courses in writing, art, mathematics, chemistry and music as well as more specialized courses in food science, origami, geology and blogging.

USAO helps tap into area students’ ‘Brain Waves’

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More than 25 gifted area students took part in classes designed to introduce them to the liberal arts experience over the last two weeks at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

The day camp, called Brain Waves, placed students between the third and seventh grades into classrooms with faculty from a variety of disciplines at the state’s only public liberal arts university.

Camp co-coordinator Dr. J.C. Sanders, assistant professor of physics and chairman of the division of science and physical education, said that the purpose of the camp was to introduce area students to the potential of interdisciplinary learning.

“Our interdisciplinary core curriculum is a central focus at USAO. During the camp, we showcase different fields of study to inspire the students and allow them to explore these new opportunities for learning,” Sanders said.

Each camp was limited to 20 students in order to simulate the kind of one-on-one instruction that characterizes the USAO experience.

The first week’s camp catered to students entering the fifth through seventh grades while the second was tailored for third and fourth graders.

Classes included studies in the fundamentals, such as writing, art, mathematics, chemistry and music as well as more specialized courses in food science, origami, geology and blogging.

Ninnekah third-grader Easton Ross enjoyed the acting portion of the camp as well learning how to build his own webpage.

His mother, Shelby Ross, said Easton was energized by the learning experiences.

“He came home so excited every day,” Shelby Ross said. “He couldn’t wait to tell us every day what he had done. He was really excited and proud that he had made bread and butter from scratch.”

Dr. Peter Thomas, professor of education and science, served as co-coordinator with Sanders, and said the camp is another way for the university to give back to the community.

“We wanted to share our belief that learning can and should be fun and hopefully help our campers develop an appreciation for learning,” Thomas said.

The camp was funded by a generous donation from Dr. Alan Todd, emeritus professor of educational technology, and his wife, Frances.

Participating faculty included: Dr. Brenda Brown, professor of English; Dr. Roch Chan-Yu King, professor of chemistry; Jacquelyn Knapp, associate professor of art and art department coordinator; Dr. Sarah Layman, assistant professor of education; Dr. Jeanette Loutsch, associate professor of biology; Leah Oxenford, lab coordinator; and Kim Roberts, adjunct instructor of science.

Also contributing to the camp were: Kate Sekula, special adjunct instructor of music; Dr. Jason Shaw, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Quan Tran, assistant professor of mathematics; Dr. Nancy Warden, professor of mathematics; Dr. Stephen Weber, professor of music and chairman of the arts and humanities division; and Dr. David Zoetewey, assistant professor of chemistry, as well as Thomas.