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UM Summer Programs Offer Fun and Learning for K-12 Campers

By Erin Garrett

University of Mississippi

Ellie Thornton, of Oxford, gets creative during the Rebel Quest ‘All About Art’ camp in 2021. This year’s camps for first-sixth-graders begin May 31 and run through July. Photo by Logan Magee

The University of Mississippi’s Office of Pre-College Programs will offer a host of opportunities for kids to learn and have fun this summer through a variety of camp options. Programs centered on subjects including robotics, creative writing, video games and culinary arts make up an exciting new lineup for 2022.

The goal is to offer kids experiences that “inspire and empower them to explore what they love and discover themselves as future college students,” said Wendy Pfrenger, associate director of pre-college programs.

“Summer should be a time for kids to dive deep and range widely with their skills and interests,” Pfrenger said. “A lot of camps are fun, but ours are both fun and enriching – intellectually, socially, experientially. 

“I send my own kids to these programs, and they always come home changed for the better.” 

For elementary school students, the Ecology Day Camp offers a hands-on experience at the university’s Field Station. Over the course of six weeks beginning on June 6, participants will study wildlife and learn from educators and conservationists. 

Rebel Quest day camps are an annual community favorite. They will explore different topics each week; some of this year’s include “Time Traveler,” “Space is the Place” and “Dragons and Griffins and Trolls, Oh My!” Rising first-sixth-graders may enroll for the camps, which begin May 31 and run through July.

The Makers and Mechanisms Day Camp, held June 13-17 and June 27-July 1, allows rising fifth-seventh-graders to make and tinker by creating their own projects and building machines. Themes are “Grandpa’s Garage,” “Chain Reaction” and “Sculptures and Dioramas.”

Rising sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders can learn to build autonomous robots through the FIRST LEGO Robotics Camp, which runs July 11-15.

The Rebel Chefs Cooking Camp, held June 13-17, allows sixth-eighth-graders to get firsthand cooking experience in the kitchen while learning about local produce and nutrition. They will learn about food and kitchen safety, basic and advanced cooking techniques, and prepare their own recipes.

The Rocket League Esports Camp will be offered for rising ninth- through twelfth-graders June 13-17. Attendees can attend in-person play and training sessions with both coaching staff and collegiate players.

“This year, our Esports team has joined with us to create some exciting new opportunities for kids to take their gaming to the next level,” Pfrenger said. “In our one-week Esports workshop, we won’t just be playing games but also teaching them how to cultivate the kind of mindset and presence that will make them successful as potential college esports players – and healthier, more well-rounded gamers.”

Rising ninth-twelfth-graders with an interest in art and literature may enroll in the Reading and Illustration Workshop, set for June 13-17. This unique offering walks students through reading and illustrating the novel “All You Need is Kill.” The final project is to paint a cover for the book.

High school students will have an opportunity to kick-start their college journey with programs focused on preparing for admissions processes and varying aspects of university life. College 101 is filled with tips, training and workshops focused on financial aid, choosing a major and even ACT prep. The week begins June 13.

The JumpStart program for incoming freshmen is accepting applications. JumpStart allows high school graduates to begin their first year of college in the summer. Students will experience a schedule similar to what they would experience in the fall, but supplemented with supportive activities.

Rising ninth-twelfth-graders interested in a career in pharmacy can attend ℞ebel Camp: Intro to Pharmacy Careers June 6-10 or July 11-15. Students will learn about the profession from faculty, staff and alumni. They also will get a look inside the university’s National Center for Natural Products Research and the Medicinal Plant Garden.

Campers will leave with a better understanding of pharmacy career paths, as well as a sense of community within the school and university, said Lindsey Cooper, coordinator of admissions at the School of Pharmacy.

“Summer at Ole Miss is so fun – it is a great way for prospective students to explore campus at a slower pace,” Cooper said. “℞ebel Camp is a specialized experience for students to explore the diverse careers in pharmacy. 

“During the one-week workshop, students will gain hands-on practice in the compounding lab, enjoy field trips to unique places such as the Memphis Zoo and visit our state-of-the-art research facilities.”

The Engineering Summer Academy at UM allows participants to learn about engineering as a major. They will experience demonstrations, hands-on activities, short lectures, team-based problem solving and industry/lab tours. The June 13-17 program is open for registration to students in ninth through twelfth grades.

Scholarships are available for students of all income and academic levels. 

“We work hard to make sure all of these programs are affordable for families,” Pfrenger said. “The university funds the majority of our financial aid, but we also have some wonderful regional and national partners who support scholarships for students with academic talent and financial need.”

To learn more about scholarship opportunities, visit this page or email precollege@olemiss.edu. For more information on all summer program offerings go to the Office of Pre-College Programs website.

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