Penn State Fayette hosts STEM youth camp in collaboration with Barnes & Noble

Professor Douglas Rutledge leads a STEM camp

Professor Douglas Rutledge leads a STEM career exploration camp about telescopes and optics, held in partnership with Barnes & Noble.

Credit: Penn State

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. – Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus hosted free STEM career exploration camps for grades 6 through 12 in June. Held in partnership with Barnes & Noble, these weeklong camps featured hands-on educational programming focused on the practical application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in everyday life.

Sponsored by Barnes & Noble and coordinated by Penn State Fayette’s Department of Outreach and Continuing Education, these camps introduced students to college life and helped them feel more comfortable about post-secondary education.

“We’re lucky to have funding from Barnes & Noble this year,” said Lynn Roy, summer youth camp coordinator. “With their help we’ve been able to start a middle school summer camp and supply more unique hands-on learning opportunities for different individuals. Sponsorships like theirs help support community outreach events like this and are reaching people that might have otherwise never stepped foot onto campus. It’s a win-win because our faculty get to showcase their talent and enthusiasm, and students get to build their confidence and skills at the same time.”

Douglas Rutledge, assistant teaching professor in physics, designed a class about telescopes and optics.

“I’m having them build their own miniature telescopes to bring home, so that they have a reminder of the experience. It’s super cool,” he said. “I hope they get something out of this. Even if they don’t come to Penn State Fayette for college, I want to leave an impression on their minds. I like living in a scientifically literate society, you know?”

Roger Myers, past participant and current student in Penn State Fayette’s Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (B.S.) program, remembers his years in the summer camps well.

“We worked with geometry to build and later fly kites around campus, used chemistry to make our own soap and bath bombs, and even conducted murder-mystery events using forensic science experiments,” he said.

Penn State Fayette’s summer youth programs are offered annually in June and July for children and teens in grades 1 through 12. For more information, contact the Office of Outreach and Continuing Education at 724-430-4211.