Gathering evidence from a mock crime scene, DNA extraction and learning about robotics are just some of the unusual, science-focused, summer camps available to Richmond teens this summer.
Insight Chemistry Tutors, in collaboration with the Richmond School District, is offering five, unique camps to get teens interested in science and technology.
The courses are being led by UBC professors, grad students and scientists, some whom are experts in their field, such as biochemist David Dolphin and UBC chemistry professor Suzana Straus, according to Olivia New, of Insight Chemistry Tutors.
Some of the camps also involve field trips to UBC research labs, Richmond Hospital and the forensic department at a police station.
“We want to make science and technology, engineering, biology and chemistry, fun and exciting,” said New, explaining she has encountered many kids who said science is boring. “We want to make kids scientific literate.”
One of the most exciting camps is the crime scene investigation (CSI) camp, which will teach teens how to collect DNA, gather fingerprints and analyze unknown substances.
There will be forensic experts, who will speak about their real life experiences. There is also a So You Want to be a Doctor camp, which will introduce students to major human body systems, through the lens of a doctor, and the process in becoming a family doctor or a specialist.
Also offered is a camp for biology, chemistry and the very popular science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) camp, which filled up fast.
New said knowledge and skills attained from science teaches people to be logical and can be transferred to other fields. For example, a person who knows chemistry can apply those skills to being a chef.
“The decisions we make are affected by science,” New said.
“The environment is the most important thing to us as human beings but we are not knowledgeable about it and if we have more knowledge in it, it will affect the decisions and choices we make.”
New began offering after-school programming on STEM at the Richmond Public Library a couple of years ago, as well as at various private schools.
“Richmond is a community that is very education keen, which is why I’m piloting this program here,” New said, adding she also lives in Richmond. “People here are hungry for education.”