Illinois Wesleyan Offering Summer Camps for Youngsters

April 21, 2014               

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Parents looking for academically challenging and fun-filled enrichment programs for their children can find them this summer at Illinois Wesleyan University. Activities will cover a variety of topics, from designing and producing creations on a 3D printer to attempting to answer one of the great questions of the ages: which are better —chewy chocolate chip cookies or crunchy ones?

“IWU Young Scientists” is a camp for students entering sixth through eighth grades. Students will explore topics in chemistry, biology, environmental studies, physics and technology. In addition to 3D printing, used commercially to create prototype products, the Young Scientists will conduct research and create an action plan to address current environmental concerns; use an electron microscope; and learn to develop film and print photographs from Kevin Strandberg, professor and director of the Illinois Wesleyan School of Art.

Gabe Spalding, professor of physics and an organizer of the camps, said the convenience of 3D printing facilitates innovation of design and greatly lowers the barriers for students to prototype.

“The important part of the design element is that students can try to solve their own problems by creating things, and 3D printing and laser cutting technology allows us to manufacture safely,” said Spalding.

Another camp, “Myth Busting From Nature to the Man Made,” is designed for students entering fourth or fifth grade. One of the features of this camp will focus on whether a person can dodge a bullet.

“We’ll answer this question by measuring response times, so we can calculate the answer without anyone getting hurt,” said Spalding.

Both camps are part of an initiative entitled IWU Young Scholars. Illinois Wesleyan faculty and licensed teachers will lead the IWU Young Scholars camps. Current IWU students will also assist camp participants in their activities.  A joint venture of faculty from across the University, IWU Young Scholars fully utilizes the college environment and campus facilities to offer kids an opportunity for exploration that is aligned with current educational practices and standards.

“This is a different kind of camp for the area,” said Leah Nillas, associate professor of educational studies and another organizer of the program.  “A significant feature of these camps centers on the collaborations among Illinois Wesleyan faculty, in-service teachers, and pre-service teachers to deliver engaging hands-on activities.”

Funding for the IWU Young Scholars is made possible by a grant from the Donnocker Innovation Fund, which provides grants to underwrite new initiatives of the faculty and staff to strengthen recruitment and retention, generate new or increased revenue, or achieve cost savings.

Both camps meet June 9-19 Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The fee is $295 per student for the two-week session, and includes lunch each day in the University’s Dining Commons. Several need-based, full-tuition scholarships are available for students nominated by their schools. Early drop-off and after-hours supervision is also available for an additional fee of $72 for either mornings or afternoons, or $130 for both.  

Registration information can be found at For more information, call Spalding at 309-556-3004 or email

Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960