College of Science & Mathematics
"Young Profs" Explore the World of Science
The gleam of fascination and inquisition in a child's eye, truly defines what it means to be a kid. Rowan University's science portion of the "Young Profs" camp set out this week, with the goal of instilling that thirst for knowledge and amazement in a group of special needs children from the neighboring towns of Glassboro. Five fun days, packed with bottle rockets, dancing, swimming, and performing on Television, "really gives these kids a chance at excitement and to be free," says Camp Counselor and Rowan Senior, Chase Ortiz.
Beginning its third year at Rowan University, the "Young Profs" camp aims to, "give these extremely smart and intelligent kids, the chance to gain valuable social skills and the experience they'd see in college," explains John Woodruff, Director of the Academic Success Center & Disabilities Resources. Through outreach via local newspapers, conferences, and Rowan's own Autism Awareness week, John was able to gather the attendees needed to begin the camp. "I want to reiterate," John stated, "that all these children WILL go to college, and we want to show them all the possibilities, which is why we added the science program."
The "Young Profs" camp is a one-week program that runs in the middle of July, and consists of 13 middle school children diagnosed with Autism, Asperger's, and now ADHD. It is also the first year that the camp added a science perspective to the agenda.
Facilitating the science experience of the camp is Instructor Dr. Behrooz Nazer, who is no stranger to teaching children the beginnings and wonders of science. "I've done this many times after working with Dupont," he began, "For several years now I've been going to elementary schools to give back to the kids." Nazer, an immigrant to America, boasts chemistry as his first language, while English his third, following his native language, Farsi. "What I want to show the kids," Nazer hopes, "is that if I can have a career in chemistry without knowing English, there are endless possibilities for their bright minds- I'm giving them the gift of hands on experience." Nazer's schedule involves teaching the kids how to make slime, test for pH, make bubble solutions, and giving them a presentation about science's uses in the world they live in. Ending the camp, he hopes to show the children the science behind the creation of ice cream on a hot summer's day.
Nazer also has his sights on the future, as he plans to create a five-day science summer camp for kids.