What makes SMILE Camp unique?

1. The Experiments!

Students use the Materials Science and Engineering technology as the basis to do experiments they could never do on their own or at school. All materials are provided at the camp and the equipment is state-of-the-art and handled by the students themselves. Students learn chemistry, physics, materials, mathematics and engineering. See our photo gallery of past experiments for a taste of what these kids do!

2. The Students!

SMILE Camp was created to address the needs of academically/intellectually gifted students to explore real science while doing so among peers. Our goal is to expose students (ages 7 to 18) to what happens beyond the classroom to encourage these gifted students to go above and beyond. We meet students where they are and move them forward as far as they can go.

3. The Interactivity!

Did we mention that students handle the equipment themselves? From scanning electron microscopes to 5 Tesla superconductors, the student is in the driver’s seat, learning by doing. The campers carry out the experiments, drive the electron microscopes, and operate the analytical equipment while interacting with mentors, engineers, scientists and fellow campers.

4. The Teaching!

Small groups of 4 campers per mentor create a safe and highly interactive environment. We employ a lot of strategies to make sure students are engaged and have the opportunity to work to their potential. Mentors are chosen for expertise (all are science majors) and are extensively trained by scientists and engineers so they can not only help with the work, but can extend it as necessary so the learning keeps going on.

5. The FUN!

Our goal is to light the spark. Our campers come back year after year because they want to learn, and we make that happen. The products of most of the experiments go home with the student, so they can build upon what they learn and keep going!