Medical School Summer Camp Highlights Value of STEM for Children

About 30 area middle and high school students spent a week of their summer at the Wake Forest School of Medicine enhancing their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math at the medical school’s first-ever STEM summer camp.

The students, who were primarily from Yadkin County and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, explored STEM-related careers and facilities around Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The camp was organized by the medical school’s Center of Excellence for Research, Teaching and Learning (CERTL).

“Our goal was to open these young minds to a variety of exciting STEM-related career options,” said CERTL Director Stanford R. Hill Jr. “Engaging the next generation in these summer activities not only increases their interest in STEM-related courses when they return to school, but also helps better prepare them for future high-demand careers.”

Activities included experiencing the simulation labs inside the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education and learning about organ and tissue regeneration at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM). The students also participated in fun and educational problem- and project-based learning cases.

The students worked with lifelike medical manikins, learned CPR techniques and saw some of WFIRM’s 3-D printers during a tour.

Although CERTL had hosted free problem-based learning camps in the past, this was the first year a STEM camp had been held.

“If you don’t get children at the middle school level, it’s too late to get them in a math class for a STEM career,” Hill said. “Middle school years are critical. If you don’t get them into Math 1 by eighth grade, they’ll never get the advanced math they need.”

Since 1996, CERTL has provided approximately 5,000 teachers across the country with quality professional development and innovative instructional materials and helped students raise their achievement by engaging them in real-world applications, collaboration and communication.