Young Nebraska Scientists (YNS) Summer Camps provide participants with the opportunity to learn science through doing science at Nebraska institutions of higher education alongside science experts and highly qualified teachers. Nebraska middle school students (current 7th and 8th graders) and high school students (current 9th and 10th graders) experience STEM activities in an intense and fun environment and receive the kind of personal attention and discovery based learning difficult to provide in today's classroom. Participants live in campus housing for one week, Sunday evening through Saturday morning, and complete a variety of activities based on the National Science Education Standards aimed at increasing their mastery of science concepts and interest in science.
Nebraska EPSCoR will provide a range of assistance to institutions wishing to host YNS summer camps.
Details of previous YNS summer camps are available for assistance in the development, coordination, and facilitation of future camps. Curriculum from pilot YNS summer camps is available for adaptation by individual institutions. These summer camps have been assessed and modifications have been made based on evaluation feedback.
This website, http://yns.nebraska.edu, is available for promoting YNS summer camps and activities and allows online access to recruiting and applications. Nebraska EPSCoR has created the necessary YNS summer camp advertisements, which can be adapted for new host institutions, and can assist in ensuring camp advertisements are disseminated across the state. NE EPSCoR can also assist in the recruitment of Nebraska science teachers for camp instruction.
A limited amount of funds are available to assist with YNS summer camps and scholarships that are available to cover the attendance fee for underrepresented minorities and those who qualify for financial aid.
Host institutions creating new YNS summer camps, or modifying existing YNS summer camps to their institution's unique strengths, must incorporate the following key learning objectives in order to maintain the standard of quality expected by Nebraska EPSCoR.
Student Self Reflections
Collaboration and Connectivity: reinforce through the curriculum
Science Technology and Society (STS)
Commitments: The YNS Program stays in touch with students all year long, and their academic careers, and students share their experiences with the broader community
Nebraska EPSCoR piloted the first YNS summer camp in 2008, Water and Water Systems, which is available for dissemination. Institutions hosting YNS summer camps using an existing YNS curriculum and theme must adapt that curriculum to their available science facilities, faculty strengths, and the unique opportunities provided by the surrounding area.
YNS camps include several activities uniquely designed to increase participants' awareness of how they learn and their personal attitudes and preferences that affect their learning and interactions with others and provide them with a profile of their learning preferences (in-put and out-put). These activities were some of the consistent favorites of the pilot camps due to the personal nature of the information and the novelty of the experience. These instruments are available to host institutions
along with training in their use and methods of instruction. YNS summer camps hosted at the University of Nebraska Lincoln also utilize the UNL Challenge Course for participant team building activities. The course was a big success and added a huge "excitement" factor to the summer camps. Some students who really enjoyed the science at the camp would not necessarily have signed up to attend without the Challenge Course being offered. If a similar facility is not available at a particular host institution, it is advised that activities with the same goals in mind are included in the curriculum.
Broad assessment tools have been created for use during YNS camps to extract as much meaningful information as possible from the camp experience without placing overdue burden on the participants and instructors.
Cost: Sponsors must be prepared to commit $5,000 to facilitate a one-week YNS summer camp. This covers room and board, transportation, and miscellaneous supply costs for 24 attendees (20 student participants and 4 residential chaperones). YNS summer camps are fee based, but sponsors may not charge more than $300 per attendee.
Personnel: YNS summer camps require an 8:1 maximum student to instructor ratio. For a camp consisting of 20 student participants, this would require a minimum of three instructor/chaperones. At least one camp instructor, the lead instructor, must be a Nebraska Certified science teacher in the grade level of the particular camp (a science endorsement in the main STEM field of the camp preferred). Additional instructors can include graduate students and faculty from the host institution or other participating Nebraska institutions.
To ensure their safety and well being, chaperones must live and dine on campus, in the same residential area, with the student participants. It is up to the discretion of the host institution as to whether instructors (teachers, graduate students, and faculty) are also the live-in chaperones or if separate chaperones will be employed to live in the residential areas with student participants.
Facilities: Host institutions must provide adequate facilities for hosting YNS camps. Participants will need access to a "home base" laboratory facility where instruction and experiments take place. Participants will need access to a computer lab in order to complete on-line work and individual project research. The host institution must ensure adequate and appropriate space is available for a welcome session at the beginning of each camp and for a showcase at the end of each camp. These two events could have up to 50 attendees. Additional meeting space and work areas must be scheduled according to the specific needs of the camps.
Host institutions must arrange for appropriate and adequate transportation for student participants to various camp activities. Host institutions must follow the rules and regulations of their transportation services departments.
Summer research opportunities offer students entering 11th or 12th grade practical research knowledge, lab skills, and the responsibility that comes with working a full-time job. As a working member of a research team, stuents will enjoy positive interaction with scientists, undergraduate and graduate students. Student researchers attend lectures on current topics, attend seminars/workshops in research and technical writing, ethics, study strategies, and career exploration, and gain skills in effective oral presentations. Additional planned weekday activities include educational and fun field trips and social activities. The summer-long experience culminates in a poster presentation allowing students to demonstrate what they have learned and accomplished to their peers, parents, and University faculty, staff, and students. Student researchers will be educated in a variety of venues in which they may present their work, in Nebraska and nation-wide.
This website, http://yns.nebraska.edu, is available for promoting YNS summer research experiences and allows online access to recruiting and applications. Nebraska EPSCoR has created the necessary YNS advertisements, which can be adapted for new host institutions.
A limited amount of funds are available to assist with YNS summer researchers and scholarships that are available to cover the fees for underrepresented minorities and those who qualify for financial aid.
Stipends: Students are paid a stipend in the amount of $7.50 per hour, will work 35-40 hours per week, and will do research for 8 to 10 weeks. The stipend, lab costs, activity fees, field trip transportation and program materials are supported by the host institution and sponsor faculty grants. Off-campus housing, students' personal spending money, and transportation to and from the lab location are the responsibility of the students' families.
Eligibility & Application Process:
Applicants must be at least 16 years old by the start of their research experience and must not have graduated from high school. Interested students and parents will complete an application form, provide a teacher recommendation, and respond to a provided essay topic. Student researchers will complete all safety training and certification as required by host institutions.