June 13, 2018
This camper learns to use a small telescope on the UW campus at a previous AstroCamp. Twenty Wyoming middle school students will participate in the newly monikered UW-Teton STEM Academy Aug. 5-10. AstroCamp was discontinued after 2015 when funding dried up. However, an anonymous donor from Teton County has provided $150,000 over the next three years to help fund the new science camp. (UW Photo)
From 2010-15, middle school students from Wyoming and other parts of the Rocky Mountain and Great Plains regions were transformed into stargazers and scientists during the University of Wyoming’s “AstroCamp: Journey to the Stars” summer science camp.
However, funding from sponsors ExxonMobil and the Harris Foundation dried up. As a result, UW did not host an AstroCamp the last two summers. But that is about to change.
Buoyed by a three-year $150,000 commitment from an anonymous donor in Teton County, the revamped event, now called the UW-Teton STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Academy, will take place Aug. 5-10 on the UW campus.
“He has a real passion to provide students an opportunity in STEM-related disciplines,” John Stark, senior vice president for development with the UW Foundation, says of the donor. “He’s generously agreed to start this program and hopes it will lead to others wanting to support the program. It’s a great start.”
Stark says he had been talking to the donor about an estate plan when Stark recalled a conversation he had with Donal Skinner, dean of the UW Honors College.
“He (Skinner) sang the praises of AstroCamp,” Stark says. “He said UW received good attention on AstroCamp and received some good students. That resonated with me. So, I pitched the project to the donor.”
The $50,000 for this year’s UW-Teton STEM Academy will fund the attendance of 20 Wyoming middle school students.
“The fact that we had almost three times as many …