Thursday, December 7, 2023
Campers at the 2021 Teton STEM Academy pose during a day’s geology excursion along the Laramie River. This year’s camp is scheduled June 18-25 on UW’s campus. (Teton STEM Academy Camp Staff Photo)

Students Will Learn About Missions to Mars at UW’s Teton STEM Academy June 18-25

Twenty-four students from across Wyoming will have an opportunity this summer to explore the interdisciplinary sciences as they relate to a mission to return to Mars during the Teton STEM Academy June 18-25 on the University of Wyoming campus.

Campers, who will be entering ninth, 10th and 11th grades this fall, will be chosen based on demonstrated interest and academic potential in math, science, astronomy and space. Students need to have at least a “B” average in science and mathematics and a passing score on the state’s standardized science and mathematics tests. As part of the application process, students must submit written essays on why they want to attend the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp. Additionally, each student must have two teacher recommendations.

Selected students must pay a $75 registration fee. This is the only camp fee that students must pay. On-campus housing and dining will be provided for attending students.

The application deadline is Monday, May 1. Late applications may be accepted in case additional spaces open up. First preference will be given to Wyoming residents. However, students from other states are encouraged to apply. For an application, go here.

“Our theme this year is a return to Mars,” says Chip Kobulnicky, a professor in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy and director of the Teton STEM Academy. “The camp will explore the scientific and technical challenges presented by such a human mission from activities based in physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, health sciences, engineering, mathematics, arts and communications.”  

The hands-on camp will allow students to design a Martian colony; choose landing sites on Mars; learn about digital communication; explore solar and hydrogen energy sources; take a field excursion in the Snowy Range; test for signs of life in soil samples; interpret geological features; and visit UW’s 2.3-meter Wyoming Infrared Observatory on Jelm Mountain near Laramie.

“We hope participants will gain a new enthusiasm for STEM disciplines while experiencing life and curriculum on a college campus,” Kobulnicky says. “We also hope campers and their families will see college as part of their future.”

Professional astronomers; UW graduate students majoring in astronomy or education; and high school and junior high school teachers will lead the activities. Megan Candelaria, an assistant research scientist in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy and associate director for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, serves as the associate camp director.

The camp is nearly free to participants, thanks to a generous gift by an anonymous donor in Teton County, Kobulnicky says. 

For more information, email Kobulnicky at