Caltech students sub as teachers at InnoWorks Summer Science Camp
Scholars help middle school students with science projects during camp.
Wesley Kunin, 12, of Marshal Fundamental School, drops a marble into the beginning of a Rube Goldberg machine he and his team made at Pasadena City College where Caltech students mentor Pasadena middle school students in the weeklong InnoWorks Summer Science Camp. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / August 17, 2012)
The 24 campers from Washington Middle, Wilson Middle and Marshall Fundamental schools learned scientific principles while shooting lasers through Jell-O, using household products to isolate DNA, measuring bacteria levels and building simple machines.
But the larger goal of the weeklong InnoWorks Summer Science Camp at Pasadena City College was to encourage kids to get excited about science.
“High-level science classes and clubs really inspired me to pursue science, so it's important to give young students a foundation that helps them become more interested,” said Misha Raffie, 17, a Caltech sophomore studying bio-engineering.
InnoWorks is a student-run nonprofit that spans 14 college campuses. Misha and more than a dozen other volunteer mentors with the recently founded Caltech chapter independently planned and operated the Pasadena science camp.
Eva Childs, who enters ninth grade at Marshall next week, said science isn't her best subject, but the activities made her want to learn more.
Krystal Scott, who finished eighth grade at Washington Middle School as head of its physics club, has liked working with gadgets since repairing and reassembling a remote-control robot as a small child.
But when it comes to an engineering career, “My dad says I doubt myself a lot,” Krystal said. “My [camp] mentor didn't think she could do it either, but she kept trying. Seeing her made me feel like I could do it too.”