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.