Girls in Science

Professor Jill Welter, St. Catherine University, will speak to students about her research in the Arctic.

UWL celebrates 20 years of program for middle schoolers in June

On June 23-24, 2018, UWL will again host two middle school STEM camps: Girls in Science and Boys Science Exploration Camp. Middle school students take hands-on workshops taught by UWL faculty and staff and spend a night on campus. In addition, this summer, Professor Jill Welter, from the St. Catherine University, will speak to students about her research in the Arctic that aims to understand how human activities that cause environmental change, including climate warming and nutrient pollution, influence aquatic food webs and nutrient cycling.

This year marks the 20th year for the girls program. In 1998, the camp was first introduced to campus by the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY). The goal was to offer challenging programs for students who were in gifted and talented programs throughout the state. In 1999, they tried to run the program again, but failed to get the needed enrollment. In 2000 a partnership between the College of Science and Health (CSH) and the office of Continuing Education and Extension (CEE) took over the program under the direction of Sandy Grunwald, Susan Kelly, who both taught in the original program, and Penny Tiedt (CEE).

Kelly has continued as science director working with CEE. Special recognition this year goes to Connie Arzigian (Archaeology), Faye Ellis (Biology), Sandy Grunwald (Biochemistry/Academic Affairs), Kenny Hunt (Computer Science), Susan Kelly (Mathematics and Statistics), Susanne Koehler (CEE) and Sandra Koster (Chemistry and Biochemistry) who have each worked with the program for 10 or more years.

As the camps have continued, a goal now is to make the camps available to more students. Science is for everyone and there has been a push to open these camps to all. The workshops have maintained the same quality instruction, but it is no longer a requirement that students participate in specified gifted programs.The principal aim is to introduce all students to the excitement of science.

To help to keep costs down for families, partial funding for these programs is being sought through grants and community sponsors. In addition, funds are being gathered to provide some local public schools several $150 individual scholarships. Teachers will be asked to select recipients based on financial needs, underrepresented groups and other factors the teachers feel are worthy of consideration. It is believed that teachers often can best determine what students would benefit most from this opportunity.

The goal is to have 20 such scholarships available this year.  We have thus far secured funds for 13 such scholarships. One of the sponsors is Bosshard Parke Ltd., La Crosse. To contribute to these scholarships, contact Susan Kelly ( or Karen McGarvey (  Tax delectable donations can be arranged with the UWL Foundation.

If you know of someone who would be interested in attending one of the programs, the June 2018 program will be finalized and posted online in January. These programs, as well as other youth programs offered from UWL, can be found at .