HPU’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars program sets new attendance record

By Chandler Condra, HPU senior

BROWNWOOD – July 23, 2015 – A record number of children from around Texas attended this year’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs at Howard Payne University. A total of 111 children attended the five-day program which included lessons in robotics, 3D printing, science, music and physical education.

energy wars for webDr. Julie Welker, director of the program, professor of communication and chair of the Department of Communication, believes the quality of the program and expertise of the instructors contributed greatly to the program’s success.

A wide variety of activities were offered throughout the week to expose students to different aspects of the arts and sciences.

“Students designed their own items and printed them on a 3D printer, designed and programmed their own wind-turbine robots, created stepping stones from recycled materials from Kohler and designed and built wind turbines and other self-propelled engines,” said Dr. Welker.

Dr. Welker was impressed by the initiative of the students during the week.

“This year’s student group was exceptional,” she said. “The students were hard-working and anxious to learn all about the different issues of energy conservation, sustainability practices and technology. Howard Payne is all about engaging our world with intellectual curiosity, and it was exciting to see so many local children join us this year.”

Instructors of the Young Scholars program, for children in first through third grades, included Deanna Erxleben, instructor of music at HPU; Keith Taylor, robotics coach at Early Elementary School; and Megan Wilson, ceramic project engineer at Kohler Company.

Instructors of the Summer Scholars program, for children in fourth through sixth grades, included Tami Hull, robotics coach at Early Middle School; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, associate professor of biology at HPU; and Dr. Lester Towell, professor of computer information systems and chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems at HPU.

Melinda Elkins, Early ISD middle school teacher and coach, led physical education for both groups.

“Our instructors each year are outstanding and this time was no different,” Dr. Welker said.

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Photo cutline: Dr. Kristen Hutchins measures the temperature in a solar oven constructed by fifth graders Kylie Chesser (center) and Ava Choate. The students made s’mores in their ovens.