BioZone’s inaugural STEM Summer Camp

Visions of ScienceOn August 24, BioZone – in partnership with Visions of Science – will be hosting over 20 students between the ages of 10-13 at its inaugural Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Summer Camp.

“We wanted to organize a way for BioZone to come together and engage with the broader community. Our hope is to build new connections and foster STEM education and interest,” says Katherine Picott, a BioZone PhD student helping with the camp. “Teaming up with Visions of Science provides the perfect opportunity.”

Visions of Science is a charitable organization that aims to advance the educational achievements and positive development of youth from low-income and marginalized communities through meaningful engagement in STEM fields and research. Its summer cohort will be visiting the BioZone labs next week for an activity-filled day themed around waste management.

The young students will learn about plastic waste, why it’s an environmental problem, and how biology can help reduce it. They’ll obtain hands on experience by performing their own enzyme assay where they will actually see the breakdown of a plastic by the enzyme.

Following this, the students will tour BioZone’s in-house anaerobic food waste digester to learn about food waste, what happens to their food in a composter, and why it’s important to keep food out of the landfill. By making their own compost in a bottle to take home, the camp participants will get to witness the transformation of food waste into nutrient rich compost.

This inaugural camp is made possible by the contribution of 13 BioZone students who were motivated to volunteer based on their own early STEM exposure. “Looking back, I realize how much programs like Visions of Science inspired me in my childhood to be curious and excited about STEM,” says Ethan Agena, a BioZone MASc student. “I went to a science camp as a kid and really enjoyed it, so I want to help create that experience for younger kids as well,” explains Liza Saitova, a BioZone summer student.

On August 24, follow @BioZoneUT on Linkedin and Twitter, as it posts about the day using #BioZoneSummerCamp.