Release Date: May 10, 2010
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With programs ranging from cool science projects to learning about your true talents while improving the community, the University at Buffalo's Center for Educational Collaboration, with generous support from the Verizon Foundation, has the answer to the "boring" summer vacation.
Now offering six distinct educational programs, the university's Center for Educational Collaboration (CEC) already has established a track record of attracting some of the area's brightest students -- teaching lessons and experiences these students may not have during the school year. And it's done while taking their promise to make it fun seriously.
The best proof, administrators of the program point out, is the testimony from past graduates.
"Attending and participating in the Center for Educational Collaboration's summer programs was one of the most exciting things I have ever done," says local student Patrick Asamoah, a 2008 Excelsior Scholar and student mentor in 2009. "It gave me my first real practical exposure to science and taught me many things I had never known. The program was truly a great and enlightening experience and I will not hesitate to participate again given another opportunity."
Altogether, the CEC's summer curriculum has what the center calls "learning experiences" for students ages 8 to 16. Fees range from nothing to $250 for two weeks of programming. Scholarships are available for some programs.
This year's summer lineup runs from July 7 through August 5 and includes these programs:
Excelsior Scholars: The two-week program, July 12-23, which is sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, is geared toward promising seventh graders who may enroll in eighth-grade Regents Living Environment and algebra. The camp aims to improve academic achievement and behavioral development of students in tandem with the Verizon Foundation's educational goal of improving literacy and strengthening education achievement for children and adults by preparing them for success in the 21st Century. The sessions also will increase awareness and interest of the students in choosing careers based in Western New York and prepare them for higher education. In 2010, nominated Buffalo Public School students will be supported as Excelsior Scholars by the Verizon Foundation.
Passport STEM: This four-day program, August 2-5, introduces middle grade students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (called STEM for short) through hands-on activities, interaction with UB faculty and scientists, and exploring career and education paths of these four technical areas.
Innovation Station: This one-week program, July 26-30, offered for the first time, will teach younger students (ages 8-12) key concepts in electrical engineering, with a focus on photonics, the science of light. Students will learn about engineering careers and advanced study opportunities in engineering.
Wiggle Your Power: Another program offered for the first time, this one-week program, July 12-16, also for younger students (ages 8-10), teaches civic engagement through fun, age-appropriate activities. Developed by CEC director Mara Huber and her 9-year-old daughter Elena, the course intends to help students to clarify their talents and resources, learn about the community needs, visit agencies dedicated to improving the lives of those in their communities and deciding how to use a portion of their registration fees to "wiggle their power." The course also draws on a children's book written by the Hubers and illustrated by Sarah Miyashiro of AmeriCorps VISTA, who will serve as camp coordinator.
The Scrapbook Project: Our City of Lights: Another new program, this week-long visual arts seminar, July 19-23, will encourage children 9 to 11 years old to discover interesting facts about their community while using reading, writing, listening, speaking and research skills. Each student will create scrapbook pages that reflect their discoveries and learning that came from the program.
Buffalo Public Schools' Extended Learning Opportunities: With an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts, this four-week afternoon program, July 7 through August 3, introduces rising fifth and six-grade Buffalo Public School students to scientific concepts, hands-on STEM activities and career and educational pathways in these technical areas.
More details on each program can be found at www.buffalo.edu/pk16.
"Evidence has shown that summer can be a critical time for student learning," says Eric Vosburgh, manager of program development at the CEC. "The transitions through adolescence -- and from middle to high school -- are key turning points in the lives of young people. Regardless of their eventual careers or academic paths, students must have the capacity to grapple with complex problems in order to maximize their potential for personal success."
And just to back up these good intentions, the CEC has a payload of kind words and sincere endorsements from those who are immediately affected by the summer programs.
"My son Patrick was hesitant at the beginning but he had a time of his life," says Dorothy Siaw-Asamoah. "Thank you for providing this to middle school students in this area. I look forward to having all three of our children participating this year and in the future."
"Taylor and Ryan had the opportunity to attend the 2009 Passport STEM and every day shared stories with me about a wonderful fun and educational experience," says Monique Sullivan-James. "We are looking forward to attending all of the 2010 summer STEM series programs."