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Left (L-R): Christina Chonka (teacher), Jeremy Laue, Phoenix Orta, Kaleb Haderxhanaj, Jesus Chavez, Zachary Schuartz, Soumyadeep Kundu, Daniel Magallanez, Albert Allmand and Leslie Pryzmont (teacher) at Tapia Camps at Rice University. Submitted by Rice University

SMCISD teachers, students attend Rice Tapia camps

Sunday, August 25, 2019

This summer, eight students and two teachers from San Marcos CISD attended Rice University’s prestigious and unique camps hosted by The Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity.

Say STEM Camp, which is sponsored by ExxonMobil, is available to rising 8th-12th graders and features a week-long residential experience with a challenging STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum. Campers experiment with handson STEM projects, like building miniature wind turbines out of household items including glue, cardstock and popsicle sticks. At the same time, students enhance their communication skills by learning how to simplify complicated STEM ideas via graphic drawings and an end-of-camp oral presentation – all while experiencing life on a college campus.

Director of camp curriculum Dr. Ben Olsen (left) and executive director of the camp Dr. Paul Hand (right) pose with Camper Of The Week Jeremy Laue after the final camp presentations. 

From among his 57 peers who attended the second week of Say STEM Camp, Jeremy Laue was named Camper of the Week and given an award for his positive attitude, eagerness to encourage other campers and willingness to take constructive feedback.

“My experience at camp has been a whole lot of fun! I have to say one of my favorite parts was getting to meet all these people from different places around Texas and even the world, and getting to interact with them and see their different perspectives and their different way of thinking,” Laue said.

The professional development camp for teachers of all subjects and levels provides participants the tools to implement project-based learning — a lesson-planning method that encourages hands-on, engaging experiences — in their classrooms. Teachers who complete the program earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours.

This summer, more than 300 students and 50 educators from across Texas and beyond attended the camps.


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