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Robotics, 3D printing among subjects for HPU’s Summer Scholars and Young Scholars camps

Scholars logoBROWNWOOD – June 18, 2014 – Howard Payne University will host its annual Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs July 14-18 from 9 a.m. to noon in HPU’s Newman Hall building. The programs, for students in first through sixth grades, will feature innovative instruction in a variety of subjects. The theme for this year is “Jacket Innovators.”

“We have an expert lineup of HPU professors and area public-school teachers who are leaders in the fields of study they will be teaching our students,” said Dr. Julie Welker, director of the programs. Dr. Welker is the chair of the Department of Communication and professor of communication at HPU. “The curriculum this year includes technology, robotics, 3D printing, biology, music and physical education.”

In the Summer Scholars program, students entering fourth through sixth grades will study 3D printing, robotics, biological sciences and physical education. The Young Scholars program is designed for children entering first through third grades. The campers will receive instruction in robotics, technology, music and physical education.

“Students in Summer Scholars will have hands-on experience with Mindstorm NXT robots and 3D printing,” Dr. Welker said. “They will also attend a biological sciences class where they will see first-hand how 3D printing and robotics are applied.”

For the first time, Dr. Welker said, students in Young Scholars will also attend classes in robotics.

“They will go to a technology class to learn about programming,” she said. “They will also attend a music class to bring the arts and sciences together in a single comprehensive program.”

The programs are designed to be fun as well as educational.

“We like to provide classes that students can enjoy and hopefully they take that knowledge back to school with them,” said Dr. Welker. “It’s important for our children to be exposed to cutting-edge technology in our fast-paced world. And the best part: it’s a no-pressure environment through which kids can learn without worrying about a test.”

Several of the camp instructors are from Early ISD, a district highly regarded for its outstanding robotics program and related faculty.

This year’s Summer Scholars teachers include Melinda Elkins, seventh-grade language arts teacher and coach at Early ISD; Tami Hull, sixth-grade science teacher at Early Middle School and coach of the robotics and University Interscholastic League science and mathematics teams; Dr. Kristen Hutchins, assistant professor of biology at HPU, who holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction in the area of science education; and Dr. Lester Towell, chair of the Department of Computer Information Systems and associate professor of CIS at HPU.

Young Scholars teachers include Melinda Elkins; Deanna Erxleben, instructor of music at HPU, who holds a master’s degree in vocal performance with a concentration in voice science and pedagogy reading; Jennifer McKibben, eighth-grade science and robotics coach at Early Middle School; and Keith Taylor, fourth-grade science teacher at Early ISD and Early Elementary robotics coach.

Cost for the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs is $100 per student and includes a souvenir, snacks and supplies. The deadline for registration is July 10.

“HPU is pleased to offer this program to provide children an opportunity to take age-appropriate classes, introducing them to new ways of thinking and ideas that will give them an edge in the classroom and the world,” Dr. Welker said.

Online registration is available at For more information about the Summer Scholars and Young Scholars programs, contact Dr. Welker at (325) 649-8508 or via e-mail at You can also join the Facebook group by searching for “Summer and Young Scholars” on