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HPU’s Dr. Derek Smith and Frank Ritter ’17 instruct students at 4-H Horizons Camp

Dr. Derek L. Smith, former associate professor of chemistry at Howard Payne University, and Frank Ritter ’17 recently led a workshop for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students during the 4-H Horizons Camp, sponsored by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service and HPU.

The camp is held each year at the Texas 4-H Conference Center on Lake Brownwood with up to 100 elementary and middle school student participants. During the four-day camp, youth spend six hours per day studying in a project area of their choosing, such as woodworking, veterinary science, wildlife and STEM-robotic.

This year, 15 students chose the STEM-robotics track. These students learned how to build and program Lego robots, construct trebuchets, test water quality and explore forensic science through pattern recognition in fingerprints and microscopic examination of hair samples.

“These hands-on activities make learning fun, while reinforcing teamwork and communication skills in these talented kids,” said David Smith, the camp’s administrator. “Most of our content experts and project leaders come from within the Extension, but these kids benefit every year from the outside expertise that local professionals, such as Frank and Derek, possess.”

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Dr. Derek Smith, former associate professor of chemistry, and Frank Ritter ’17, led a workshop for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math as part of the 4-H Horizons Camp at the 4-H State Conference Center.

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