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Summer Events Highlighted

SAIL

Outside of the University of Oregon’s Student Recreation Center, professor Graham Kribs is throwing slabs of rock the size of footballs at helmet-covered watermelons to demonstrate basic principles of physics and proper climbing equipment.

This is one of the many ways the Summer Academy to Inspire Learning program, or SAIL, is advancing statewide academic outreach. SAIL was founded in 2005 by UO economics professors Bruce Blonigen and Bill Harbaugh, who wanted to introduce college life and interdisciplinary learning to middle- and high-school students from underrepresented backgrounds, including those from lower-income homes and those who would be the first in their families to attend college

A revolving staff of 300 UO faculty members volunteer to teach at SAIL. Kribs uses watermelons, helmets, rock climbing — and rocks — to share physics in a new light. He sees the program as a part of a faculty member’s scholarly role to make science accessible and give back to the public.

“Rock climbing is a great activity because it involves so much basic, first-year physics and it’s something students are familiar with,” Kribs said.

You can read the full Around-the-O article here.

SPICE Camp!

This is SPICE Camp – the Science Program to Inspire Creativity and Excellence – a fun summer camp for girls entering sixth through ninth grades that fosters their passion for science as much as it teaches them about it. The big-picture goal is to stoke their interest enough that they’ll identify themselves as scientists or at least embrace the discipline rather than hesitate when they encounter it.

And they do it in an environment surrounded by female role models: from SPICE Director Brandy Todd down through the instructors and helpers, aka “junior minions.”

“The goal is that they come out of the camp feeling that when someone says, ‘We’re going to do this science thing,’ their ears perk up and they go ‘Oh, I like science. I want to do that science thing,’ so they have these positive associations and confidence in their ability,” Todd said. “Ability is not the problem. It’s how your environment is helping build your confidence and motivation.”

You can read the full Around-the-O article here.