This summer, the University of Arizona's Undergraduate Affiliate Network Chapter of ASBMB and the Biochemistry Club will host its first multidisciplinary Blast Off! Summer Science Camp, from June 11th-15th at the University of Arizona.
The goal of this camp is to provide fifteen Tucson middle school students from historically under-represented ethnic groups or with limited exposure to science in their households with the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific experiments. The original idea for the camp was developed by Mary-Helen Wanat (UA ’11) and Nina Martin (UA ’12), both Biochemistry majors.
Developed around the theme of outer space exploration, Blast Off! will cover topics ranging from physics and engineering to molecular biology. The middle school students will participate in activities that will challenge their problem solving and understanding of a scientific topic, including the chemistry of soil testing, learning about biological light emitting systems, identifying an organism using DNA fingerprinting techniques, and building their own solar powered vehicles and space "vehicles" (baking soda and vinegar rockets). There will even be exciting field trips to the UA Flandrau Planetarium, and the UA Mirror Lab!
Since last summer, Nina Martin and Jonathan Merritt have been engaged in the actual development of the curriculum and logistics of hosting Blast Off! and will be joined by other undergraduate students from CBC and other UA departments, as well as former participants of Innoworks, a predecessor of this summer camp. Funding is provided by a wide variety of sources: the CBC department, the UA College of Science, the Office of Vice President for Research, Dr. Marc E. Tischler, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). Food donations have also been provided by Café 54 and Brooklyn Pizza Company. Dr. James T. Hazzard (CBC) is the Faculty Adviser for the camp and can be contacted for any information (firstname.lastname@example.org).