First annual Lawrence Brothers Science Camp held at university

First annual Lawrence Brothers Science Camp held at university Twenty-six area middle school students had the opportunity to learn more about how eyes work during a camp held at The University of South Dakota this week.

The First Annual Lawrence Brothers Science Camp is a program sponsored by the John H. and Amy Bowles Lawrence Foundation gift to the USD Foundation and is supported by the South Dakota Science Education Enhancement Program funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Participants stayed in the residence halls on campus and attended workshops related to a scientific theme. Camp goals include bringing students together for fun, hands-on activities centered on a theme; developing math and science skills; encouraging science careers; and honoring the memory of E.O. and John Lawrence, two of USD's most illustrious alumni. Brothers Ernest and John Lawrence grew up in Canton. They left the USD campus in the 1920s and went on to earn international reputations in the field of science.

Ernest became a Nobel Prize winner in physics and John became known as the "Father of Nuclear Medicine."

This year's camp theme was light and vision. Activities planned for the week included making a telescope, building a light-sensitive robot, DNA

fingerprinting and hearing from medical professionals such as Dr. Cynthia Johnson of Vermillion and Dr. Steve Ferguson, who works with Dr. Vance Thompson in laser surgery in Sioux Falls.

The camp was led by a team of teachers including Sally Stoll, a seventh-grade science teacher from Vermillion, and four USD professors: Dr. Tina Kellar, Dr. Barb Goodman, Dr. David Hawkinson and Dr. Bob Noiva.

USD graduate student Bobby Schifullah and USD Honors students Kevin McCollister, Andrea

Fullerton, Sara Kuepp and Aaron Kauer also assisted with the program.

"We're trying to do as many activities as we can to allow the kids to do things," Stoll said outside a laboratory at USD Tuesday, where camp participants were busy assembling robots.

Just what do robots have to do with light and vision?

Stoll explained that the small machines being built by the students include light sensors. "They're building the robots to be afraid of the light," she said.

If the young people built their machines correctly, they will run in the dark, she said, and stop when a light is turned on.

"We have a variety of activities in different sciences rather than just one type of science," Stoll said. "So we've used a lot of USD faculty from different departments presenting different activities."

Those activities include the study of eye anatomy and physiology, and a chemistry lab that explored pigments of leaves and why they change color when seasons change.

For more information, visit the Web site at www.usd.edu/lbf .

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