Summer Camp Blogs

Summer Camps 2023

  • Week One

    Last week was the kick off of the brand new College of Arts and Sciences Summer Camps! The first week consisted of the UAA Biology Departments H20 Species Spies: Biology camp on Stream Ecology and the UAA Journalism & Public Communications UCreate@UAA: JPC Media Creator Camp.


    H20 Species Spies: Biology camp

    Biology Summer Camp

    The H20 Species Spies camp was led by UAA Department of Biology professors, Dr. Rachael Hannah, Kristy Menning, and Dr. Alicia Holmgren along with their camp counselors Najma Musa, Julian Drago and Lauryn Yates.  

    During this camp kids from 5th-8th grade participated in a variety of different activities relating to stream ecology. During the week, campers collected lake and stream water samples to cultivate microbes from. This activity demonstrated the diversity of microscopic life in natural environments and the importance of water quality. 

    The camp taught lab procedures, and the camp counselors demonstrated how to prepare specimens to view with a microscope. Campers also created a Winogradsky column, a self-contained ecosystem that allows the cultivation of diverse microbial communities. By following this protocol, the kids created an ideal environment for different types of bacteria to grow, demonstrating their metabolic diversity and interactions via observable color changes.

    Over the course of the week the kids were able to watch changes in their collections and record their observations. 

    Biology Summer Camp

    UCreate@UAA: JPC Media Creator Camp

    JPC Summer Camp

    Week one also consisted of the UAA Journalism & Public Communications Department’s UCreate@UAA: JPC Media Creator Camp! This camp was led by Professor of Journalism and Communications, Paola Banchero along with Executive Editor of the Northern Light, Matthew Schmitz.  In collaboration with the UAA JPC Department was the Alaska Teen Media Institute. Support from this program was extremely beneficial thanks to: Rosey Robards, Kortnie Horazdovsky, Madison  Knutson, Kendrick Whiteman, and Roey McCowan. 

    This camp offered a variety of different content creation activities such as the critical processes of production including video, audio, photography, critiquing, editing, and the correct use of equipment. 

    Days consisted of collecting footage that would then be integrated into an overall video project. Campers learned how to gather audio, B-roll, and how to collaborate with one another to create a scene. 

    By the end of the week they each put together a video project that consisted of planning, recording, editing, re-shooting and revising. On the last day of the camp these projects were presented to the camper’s families in the UAA Fine Arts Building Recital Hall. These presentations illustrated the time and effort that went into the work done throughout the week. Creativity and attention to detail were heavily expressed throughout each video. 

    To view the work done by students in the JPC camp click here.

    JPC Summer Camp
  • Week Two

    Week two of the 2023 College of Arts and Sciences Summer camps included the Games, Puzzles, and Math: Mathematics Camp and the Navigators: Think Fast, Think Fun, Think Orienteering: Orienteering Camp!


    Games, Puzzles, and Math: Mathematics Camp

    Math Summer Camp

    The Mathematics camp was led by UAA College of Arts and Sciences Dean, Dr. Jenny McNulty with assistance from Kyle Walker and Maggie Dworian. This camp focused on solving puzzles, looking for patterns, and tinkering with problems using hand-on exploratory activities. Each day of the week consisted of a different subject.

    Day 3 of camp was “Crypto Day” where the campers were able to learn about encryption and decryption schemes. This allowed the students to work together to solve coded messages. Other activities included solving puzzles, and finding symmetry in objects at home. 

    Games such as “Set” were used to study probability. This game was designed to increase the brain's ability to make quick shifts in thinking. 

    Topics that were included in this week of camp were as follows: Nim and Binary Numbers, Graph Coloring Problems and Geometry, Fibonacci Numbers and Fractals, Secret Codes & Cryptography. With engaging activities, the campers were able to strengthen their knowledge on these subjects. 

    Themes within this camp were able to utilize fun and real world experiences to create a deeper understanding of mathematics and its use in everyday life. 

    Math Summer Camp

    Navigators: Think Fast, Think Fun, Think Orienteering: Orienteering Camp!

    Orienteering Summer Camp

    The second camp being held this week was the Navigators: Think Fast, Think Fun, Think Orienteering: Orienteering Camp led by Department of Anthropology & Geography Professor Dorn Van Dommelen, Jen Joliff, and Ian Moore. 

    This action packed camp consisted of cooperative games, creative classroom training exercises, and daily navigation courses that provided the kids with tools they needed to read a map, make great route choices and become an excellent navigator.

    Day 1 of camp focussed on map reading. The kids were introduced to the subject of Orienteering  and the use of maps. They learned about scales, legends, and symbols. Campers used grid mazes and practiced keeping the map oriented. 

    On Day 2 of camp, the leads demonstrated compass use. The kids learned how to orient a map using a compass. By the end of the day the campers were familiar with route choices. 

    Day 3, 4, and 5 included topics such as typography, route choice, and safety and independence.

    By the end of the week students were able to participate in activities that tied these various skills together and demonstrate what they had learned. 

    Orinteering Summer Camp

    It was another great week of our CAS summer camps!

  • Week Three

    To end off the first year of our CAS Summer Camps, the last week of the program included the Bone Detectives: Forensic Anthropology Camp! 

    Bone Detectives: Forensic Anthropology Camp

    Forensic Anthropology Summer Camp

    This camp was led by Professor of Anthropology, Mallory Anctil and was assisted by student Megan Newcomb.

    Campers collected human skeletal remains (plastic) and personal items from a field setting, as well as laboratory analysis of these items. Hands-on lab activities included blood spatter analysis, microscopic hair analysis, shoe impression recovery, and analysis. Campers also applied the above concepts to a specific forensic case they reconstructed as a group. During the last day, they went over their interpretation of cases based on their experiences with the hands-on lab activities. 

    The first day included a review of eye witness statements and how accurate they were or weren’t. This was followed by an introduction to basic bone ID with some plastic replicas. 

    The following day consisted of the blood spatter analysis lab. This lab allowed students to create different patterns and describe how they were created. They discussed how different actions cause different patterns. Afterwards, the campers studied how this type of evidence is used at a crime scene. Previous forensic cases were used as examples. 

    On day 3, the students participated in a hair and fiber analysis lab. The kids collected and examined different hairs and fibers provided by staff including cat and dog hair, synthetic fibers acrylic, fleece from robes, human head hair etc. They used a microscope to examine each type. 

    Day 4 included an Etymology lab, the examination of crime scenes, and bugs. Day 5 focused on collection of human remains (plastic), this allowed the kids to strengthen knowledge in the identification of human skeletal remains. 

    Forensic Anthropology Summer Camp

    It was a great week of camp and a great way to close the program.