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ECU summer camp offers youth hands-on science lessons

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Feb. 20, 2006)   —   Youth from eastern North Carolina will have the opportunity to study science in a fun, hands-on environment during a series of weeklong science camps this summer at East Carolina University.

The day camps are aimed at children ranging from rising second-graders to rising eighth-graders. Topics the camps will cover include aeronautics, space exploration, chemistry and forensics.

The camps are presented by the ECU Department of Math and Science Education and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The camps are patterned after the successful science camps the planetarium has hosted in Chapel Hill for several years.

"We really feel like the east should have something like this for its students," said Shawn Laatsch, a visiting instructor in the Department of Math and Science Education and a lead organizer of the camps.

Camp sessions begin June 12 and run through the week of July 10. Each day is divided into two camps, one from 9 a.m. to noon and the other from 1 to 4 p.m. Campers may take morning or afternoon sessions or both. Half-day, weeklong camp sessions cost $100 per camper. Additional half-day, weeklong sessions are $80 each. Other fees apply for dropping off children early, picking them up late and having lunch from the ECU dining hall. Sixteen slots are available in each half-day session. Registration begins Feb. 27 and will continue until all slots are full.

ECU students from the College of Education will work as camp counselors. Most camp sessions will be held in Flanagan Hall, the home of ECU's math and science education programs.

The camps are supported by a $30,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation. That money will provide scholarships, transportation and other support for campers from tobacco-dependent or economically distressed families in Pitt, Craven, Lenoir, Greene, Beaufort, Wilson and Martin counties.

The camps will help bring educational opportunities to children in eastern North Carolina that children in other parts of the state already receive, said Dr. John Meredith, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Meredith helped secure the Golden LEAF funds.

For more information, call Laatsch at (252) 328-9365 or e-mail him at


Contact: Doug Boyd | 252-744-2481