Spring break means NASA space camp for 13 BW students


University Relations

Baldwin Wallace students participated in a number of hands-on projects during last year’s Space Camp University in Houston. This year’s trip runs March 3-9.

This Spring, 13 students will be taking part in Space Camp University for one week only in Houston, Texas. Here, they will be doing numerous activities that not only involves science, but also mathematics, technology, and engineering, while learning about the past and future of space science.
Space Camp University is a five-day team building program where students are tasked to build rockets and thermal cryogenic heat shields as well as code robots. Those students are required to complete their challenges efficiently and below their given budget during their time here in Houston.
Over the one-week span, these students are taking footsteps forward like those of NASA astronauts to experience their educational program that is designed with the help of two BW faculty members. They are expecting to leave Cleveland on Sunday Mar. 3 and make it to Houston the very next day on the fourth, which will last until Mar. 9.
This program is designed to promote teamwork, problem solving, communication and engineering solutions to space science scenarios.
Jim McCargar, Ph.D., who is the associate dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, worked with NASA to help set the stage in order to evaluate the curriculum for an existing week-long program.
“I want to help inspire students to pursue their career in space science with this program,” McCargar explained. “Our NASA Space Camp U colleagues approached this BW experience as a ‘learning laboratory’ to explore what works best with college-age students.”
The 13 students that are going are mostly STEM students, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to McCargar, even if the students aren’t majoring in any of the STEM categories, they’re still welcome to join along during their spring break vacation in Houston.
“Anybody can go for the spring break,” McCargar said. “The students are willing to participate in this program so that they’ll experience science that they’ve never seen before.”
Ray Shievly, professor and Department Chair of Chemistry, commented that the students heading to Houston would be prepared for what is anticipated to be the best spring break they’ll ever have.
“This should be a fun experience for the students involved,” Shievly said. “They’re willing to participate and learn something new about science and space during their time here.”
This is not the first time the students went to Houston for their spring break, as the event was previously held last year from Mar. 5-9.
For this event, the students are expecting to do inspiring activities that include astronaut training, working with diving instructors to learn techniques in scuba diving, and working together as a pair to build robots.
One student who went to Space Camp last year, senior physics major, Garrett Witzke, recalled his experience in Houston participating in scuba diving challenges that were taught by astronauts.
“The underwater building challenges were really fun,” Witzke says. “Having one of the fastest times ever seen by instructors during the challenge was really cool.”
Not only will the STEM students be participating in fun activities, but they’re also expecting to learn about what the future of space science will hold within years ahead. Before heading back home, they’re expected to evaluate what the future will hold in space, which will have students think critically about what’s to come.
But nonetheless, their critical thought process of the future in space and their experience at Space Camp University will help make the student’s dreams come true during their Spring Break from Mar. 4 all the way to the ninth.