About 20,000 kids gained knowledge and college experiences this summer at University of Louisiana System camps

(Please note high resolution photos can be downloaded at: http://ow.ly/nxm2Y)

BATON ROUGE, La. — Whether it’s web design or music, robotics or culinary arts, cheerleading or photography, approximately 20,000 youngsters will go back to school in a few weeks armed with college experiences and fresh knowledge gained at summer enrichment camps hosted by the University of Louisiana System’s nine campuses throughout the state.

“We are gratified that so many young people from elementary through high school have engaged their minds – and had some fun – on our campuses this summer,” said UL System President Sandra K. Woodley.

“These summer youth programs are a great way to connect younger students with the university experience and, hopefully, spark new interests that they’ll take back with them as they continue their journeys to college. The programs also affirm the commitment of our nine universities to serve people of all ages,” she said. “We’re proud of the services we provide not only to our university students, but also to our communities.”

Each UL System campus offers a host of summer programs. There are camps commonly offered on most campuses such as academic enrichment, music, sports, cheerleading and dance, computers, and general day camps. Even robotics has become a common offering among many campuses.

“Most campuses also offer residential camps, which give students the opportunity to explore the full campus experience, including living in a dormitory with a roommate, a skill important in life as well as in college,” Woodley said.

Scroll down for highlights of summer programs offered at each of the campuses:

  • “Camp Culinary” at Nicholls State University,
  • “Zoom into Careers” at Southeastern Louisiana University,
  • “Governor’s Program for Gifted Children” at McNeese State University,
  • “Boys State” and “Girls State” at Northwestern State University,
  • “2013 UNO-AMRI Summer Outreach Program” at the University of New Orleans,
  • “Tiger Fun Day” at Grambling State University,
  • “President’s Academy” at the University of Louisiana at Monroe,
  • “STEM Student Experience” at Louisiana Tech University, and
  • “Phantom Regiment Drum Major Camp” at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Pictures and camp information follow…

Camp Culinary

Under the instruction of Chef Richard Curtis, campers spent a morning learning to bake cupcakes and pizzas in the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute lab at Nicholls State University. Camp Culinary, one of the many week-long summer camps held on the Nicholls campus, provides a safe kitchen environment where kids ages 9-14 can learn basic cooking skills to share with their families.

“Camp Culinary” at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux

“Camp Culinary” and “Science Adventure” are the two of the most popular summer camps at Nicholls.

“Camp Culinary” allows students between the ages 9-14 to learn how to make simple, yet nutritious meals at home. In “Science Adventure,” students explore space, build their own racing cars, and learn about pyramids and animals. Altogether, some 1,500 campers attend one of the 38 summer camps sponsored by Nicholls.

For more information, contact: Renee Piper at renee.piper@nicholls.edu or visit nicholls.edu/continuing-ed/.


Zoom into CareersUnder the guidance of a professional photographer, high school and junior high students study the basics of digital photography at Southeastern’s Zoom into Careers Workshop focusing on developing photographic skills. The weeklong workshop was held in St. Tammany Parish. On the final day, students showcased their work for friends and family.

“Zoom into Careers” at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond

Among the wide array of camps Southeastern offers is a series of workshops designed to appeal to any interest. “Zoom into Careers” is a lineup of hands-on career workshops in 14 fields for students in grades 7-12.  Areas include animation, automotive, criminal justice, culinary, health care, industrial technology and engineering, kinesiology, movie making, photography, radio, television, theatre, web design, and welding.

Zoom workshops use the latest technology in specialized labs to create an interactive experience in the career field of choice. Participants have the opportunity to receive a glimpse into college life by staying overnight in Southeastern’s dormitories.

For more information, contact: Rene Abadie at rabadie@selu.edu, or visit http://ow.ly/ng5Oc.


Governor's Gifted ProgramBaton Rouge sixth grader William Heitman practices his cello under the direction of Dr. Michael Buckles, associate professor of music and head of the department of performing arts at McNeese.

“Governor’s Program for Gifted Children” at McNeese State University in Lake Charles

From cooking lessons to the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children and from harp camp to sports camps, McNeese offers something for every child in June and July.

Approximately 3,000 students registered for 35 summer camps and the Kids College/McNeese Teens summer program. Options range from a few hours in class to several days on campus, and campers can stay in residence halls or commute.

The Governor’s Program for Gifted Children, a seven-week residential program, was founded in 1959 on the McNeese campus as a summer arts and humanities program for gifted students in Louisiana. The Governor’s Program is the oldest and most comprehensive enrichment program in the state for students in grades 6-10. Many of their courses culminate at the end of the summer in projects or performances that are presented to the community.

More than 2,000 students from every parish in the state have attended the program. Pulitzer-Prize and Tony-Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner and Grammy-winning musician and actor Harry Connick Jr. attended the Governor’s Program.

For more information, contact: Candace Townsend at ctownsend@mcneese.edu or visit www.gpgc.org.


Boys StateAbout 400 Boys State attendees are led across Northwestern State University’s campus by about 80 junior and senior counselors.  Boys and Girls State citizenship programs sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary have been held at NSU since 2007.

“Boys State” and “Girls State” at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches

The Northwestern State University campus has hosted more than 9,000 students and staff at camps this summer. The campus’ more than 40 camps include band, art and music camps, Louisiana Boys State and Girls State, cheerleading and sports camps, Project Lead the Way, the ADVANCE Program for Young Scholars, the Louisiana Association of Student Councils, Energy Camp Louisiana and more.

About half of the camps are overnight camps, requiring students to stay in either the University Columns, University Place I and II or Varnado Hall and have meals at Iberville Hall. This gives camp participants a good idea of what student life is like at Northwestern State.

For more information, contact: David West at west@nsula.edu, or visit http://www.lalegion.org/louisianaboysstate.html.


AMRI-UNOEdward Johnson of New Orleans returns for the second year to a summer research program at UNO designed for high school S.T.E.M. students. Here, he shows UNO President Peter J. Fos and VP of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Brett Kemker his final poster presentation.

“2013 UNO-AMRI Summer Outreach Program” at the University of New Orleans

In addition to the many summer camps for the elementary, middle and high school students UNO offers is a summer program designed to cultivate local minority student research talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (S.T.E.M.).

Now in its 13th year, the eight-week summer study program draws students from the greater New Orleans metropolitan area and includes chemistry, physics, biological sciences, psychology, computer science and engineering components. The interdisciplinary program run by UNO faculty is funded by a $20,000 grant from the UL System and Board of Regents and part of a $315,000 grant recently awarded to UNO to advance the University’s summer outreach program for minority high school students, undergraduates and area teachers. Several other university grants help supplement the program, including one from the BP Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

Ten or 12 students selected from a diverse mix of area private, public and charter schools participate in the program. Under the direction of faculty mentors, they participate in chemistry, physics and biology department research projects, as well as research at UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute (UNO-AMRI).

For more information, contact: Adam Norris at amnorris@uno.edu, or visit www.uno.edu.


Tiger Fun DayParticipants at Grambling State University’s Tiger Fun Day engage in a friendly tug of war.  The students, ranging from 7 to 12 years old, improved athletic skills while learning valuable interpersonal skills like communication and teamwork.

“Tiger Fun Day” at Grambling State University

Grambling hosted about 1,000 students in summer camps this year, many of them focused on sharpening the mind and the body. Tiger Fun Day was a free camp run by the intermural sports department that offered a variety of activities that emphasized teamwork, communication, sportsmanship, and fun.

Focused on sharpening the mind, two camps introduced uncommon uses for technology: “Art & Robotics Summer” camp for children ages 7-12 and “Robotics and Cyber Security Workshop” for high school teachers and students.

Students in “Arts & Robotics Camp” camp used air-dry polymer clay to design unique sculptures and learn about sculpting history and principles. They also learned about robotic sculpture by building their own robots. Participants developed an understanding of gears, sensors, axles, brushings, and hubs and used this understanding to build robots, using a template and then designing their own robots. They also spent time in the computer laboratory programming the robots they had built.

The “Robotics and Cyber Security” workshop, funded by the U.S. Air Force Minority Leaders Program, is designed to help increase the number of students who get college degrees in the sciences and mathematics.  Participants built VEX Robots and used the VEXC language to program the robot to perform various tasks.  The schools represented were Jonesboro Hodge High School, Neville High School, Caddo Magnet High School, Grambling High School and Life School Red Oaks (Waxahachie, TX).

For more information, contact: Will Sutton at suttonw@gram.edu or visit www.gram.edu.


President's AcademyPresident’s Academy participant Mary McMullen of Monroe receives instructions from an E.A. Conway Medical Center nurse.

“President’s Academy” at the University of Louisiana at Monroe

ULM hosted almost 2,000 students in summer camps and residential programs this year. Almost half of these were overnight, giving students a good introduction to the life of a Warhawk.  Among the 25 programs is one that attracts high-performing students from throughout Louisiana to explore careers and gain experience beyond the classroom to help chart their career paths.

The President’s Academy is a five-day residential college preparatory program held on the ULM campus. This year the university partnered with two Fortune 500 companies based in Monroe — CenturyLink Communications and Angus Chemical Company, a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company. It also joined forces with a local hospital, E.A. Conway Medical Center, and Escamilla & Poneck, an international law firm, to provide externships in the fields of computer sciences, law, health sciences and physical sciences. Coupled with follow-up laboratory experiences with university faculty and college courses that equip scholars with the soft skills to flourish in a competitive job market, the President’s Academy offers high-ability high school students exclusive access to the global economy.  The academy, now in its second year, allows qualified high school juniors and seniors to choose a career path and an externship with one of four corporate partners in exchange for one college credit. The purpose of the academy is to provide students with experiences beyond the classroom that will help prepare them for college and the job market.

For more information, contact: Kiwana Sutton at ksutton@ulm.edu, or visit www.ulm.edu.

STEMSTEM Student Experience students and Research Experience teachers gather at Louisiana Tech University.

“STEM Student Experience” at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston

Ten students from elementary, junior high, and high schools around the region recently completed the week-long STEM Student Experience summer science program at Louisiana Tech.

Students from Delta Junior High School, Holly Ridge Elementary School, Ruston Junior High School, Ruston High School, Simsboro High School, and Wossman High School attended the STEM program, which consisted of hands-on activities about popular science issues, such as energy generation, storage, and conversion. The student-scientists also toured Louisiana Tech research labs, built a hydrogen-powered car, investigated the chemistry behind the working of batteries, and built and studied properties of molecules on computers.

The students were selected and invited by their teachers, who were participating in the six-week Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program.  Both programs are sponsored by the Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications (LA-SiGMA) and the Shell Northern Louisiana Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.  The LA-SiGMA Alliance includes Louisiana Tech, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Southern University, Xavier University and Grambling State University, and is funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Northern Louisiana Collaborative is an extension of the Texas Regional Collaborative and has as its objective to provide professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers of science and mathematics.

To read more about LA-SiGMA research and outreach programs, contact: Dave Guerin at dguerin@latech.edu, visit http://www.institute.loni.org/lasigma/ and for highlights on the Louisiana Collaborative, visit http://thetrc.org/web/louisiana.html.


Drum corps from around the U.S., including pictured members of the Raider Band from Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie, La., traveled to Lafayette for Drums Across Cajun Field, part of an annual summer tour of more than 100 competitive events in 38 states.

“Phantom Regiment Drum Major Camp” at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

In addition to hosting Boy Scouts in its dormitories, high-achieving students and cheer and dance camps, as well as many others, UL Lafayette hosts one camp that is sure to get the attention of anyone within blocks: the Phantom Regiment Drum Major Camp.

This camp attracts an estimated 50 high school band participants. Hosted by the UL Lafayette Music Department, the camp offers instruction from some of the nation’s best conductors and band directors. Students stay in dorm rooms and get tickets to Drums Across Cajun Field, a drum and bugle competition with representatives from across the country, which took place on campus in July.

For more information, contact: Aaron Martin at acm8841@louisiana.edu, or visit http://ow.ly/nhWGz.


ABOUT THE UL SYSTEM: The University of Louisiana System is Louisiana’s largest higher education system enrolling over 92,000 students at the following nine universities: Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.