One-of-a-kind summer camp offered at Penn State for the first time

University Park, Centre County, Pa. - Around this time of year, many kids are heading to summer camps, but a new camp at Penn State is not what most people expect. 

More than 20 middle school-aged students are participating in the Finding Your Roots camp, as part of the Penn State's Science-U Summer Camps. 

It's the first time the University has offered a camp like this. 

Students have the chance to learn about their ancestry and traits by looking at things such as their DNA. 

The program is modeled after a popular PBS program. 

"We can actually use the self-discovery camp to get kids interested in a lifelong pursuit of science," Nina Jablonski, a distinguished professor of anthropology said. 

Jablonski developed the camp in hopes it would expose students from underrepresented populations to more STEM-related academics. 

Although some of the subject matter, like race, can be somewhat controversial, Jablonski finds that discussing it at this age is a necessity. 

"If kids can understand that these social constructs can influence people's behaviors but they don't have a real biological basis, that is a real, winning concept," she said. 

Penn State is one of two sites in the country to host the Finding Your Roots camp. 

The two-week long camp wraps up July 2. 


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