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Students Will Learn About Interdisciplinary Sciences at UW’s Teton STEM Academy July 10-18

May 4, 2021
group of students around a table looking at photos
Campers at the 2019 Teton STEM Academy identify and sort objects in the universe on size scales of atoms and molecules through galaxies and clusters of galaxies. This year’s camp, free to 24 selected participants from Wyoming, is scheduled July 10-18 on UW’s campus. (Teton STEM Academy Camp Staff Photo)

Twenty-four students from across Wyoming will have an opportunity to explore the interdisciplinary sciences during the Teton STEM Academy July 10-18 on the University of Wyoming campus.

Campers, who will be entering ninth, 10th and 11th grades this fall, are chosen based on demonstrated interest and academic potential in math, science, astronomy and space. Students need to have at least a “B” average in science and mathematics, and a passing score on the state’s standardized science and mathematics tests. As part of the application process, students had to submit written essays on why they wanted to attend the science camp.

The STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp is free to selected participants. The application deadline is Friday, May 21. For an application, go to

“We offer hands-on activities in the interdisciplinary sciences, including life sciences, physical sciences, engineering and math, all covered under a general theme of planning a journey to Mars,” says Chip Kobulnicky, a professor in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy, and co-director of the Teton STEM Academy.

The hands-on camp will allow students to observe the universe with professional telescopes; study astronomical images on computers; construct scientific spectrographs to identify chemical elements; build and launch model rockets; conduct soil tests; create solar ovens; and test their own Mars landers to see whether, in this case, they can land an egg softly enough without breaking it.

“We want to inspire youth to see college as part of their future and see STEM fields as exciting fields of study,” Kobulnicky says.

Professional astronomers; UW graduate students majoring in astronomy or education; and high school and junior high school teachers will lead the activities. Megan Candelaria, an assistant research scientist in the UW Department of Physics and Astronomy, and associate director for the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium, serves as the associate camp director.

On-campus housing and dining will be provided for attending students. Field trips to the Snowy Range and to the large research telescope at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory on Jelm Mountain are planned, Kobulnicky says.

In 2018, an anonymous donor from Teton County made a three-year, $150,000 commitment to the Teton STEM Academy, formerly known as the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, which ran from 2010-15 on UW’s campus before funding dried up.

For more information, go to or email Kobulnicky at

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