NIU Summer Camps offer creative activities, career preparation

STEM - artStudents looking for fun, hands-on ways to explore new careers this summer can register for Northern Illinois University’s summer camps.

NIU’s day and residential camps run throughout June, July and August and cover a variety of topics to keep students in elementary school through high school engaged in learning and growing. They also offer students an opportunity to experience college life and interact with university experts.

At this year’s camps, students will experience everything from developing video games, to engineering the homes and products of the future, to becoming the next nightly news anchor.

Students who want to add some adventure to their summers can sign up to navigate the zombie apocalypse, perform with a jazz ensemble, train the Huskie way with NIU Athletics or try to survive the surface of Mars.

With new camp offerings and favorites from past years, there is sure to be something to interest every young learner.

Several camps offer merit-based and need-based scholarships. Some camps also offer discounts for early-bird registration, children of NIU employees, returning campers or multiple campers from the same family.

For 2015, STEM Outreach has expanded its offerings to give students more experience with in-demand careers. In addition to popular camps such as Engineering Amusement, they have added new tracks to STEM Career Exploration camps for students entering grades 10 through 12. Students can now choose among tracks in engineering, science, math, chemistry, video game design and health sciences.

“Job opportunities in STEM fields will continue to grow,” says Jeremy Benson, STEM Outreach Camp director. “We want students to come in, have fun, get their hands dirty, learn from STEM professionals, and get excited about pursuing STEM careers.”

More than 130 students already have registered for STEM Outreach’s camps. Parents should register their children early to reserve their spaces in these popular camps, Benson says.

Book cover of “The Martian” by Andy WeirNew this year is STEM Read’s Crisis on Mars! camp (June 21-26).

The camp, which is organized in conjunction with SMARTspace@NIU and STEM Outreach, will present high school students with a fresh challenge each day as they use Andy Weir’s best-selling novel “The Martian” to explore STEM concepts, art and design, and creative writing. Crisis on Mars! uses hands-on experiences to foster creative problem solving and is geared toward future scientists, artists, writers and sci-fi fans alike.

“Creativity is important in every career, says Mary Baker, coordinator of SMARTspace@NIU, “but schools don’t always give students time to innovate and work collaboratively on open-ended problems. That’s where camps like ours come in.”

Baker will lead campers in creating space ship concept art and cinematic trailers to document their Martian adventures. “We’ll use STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) to explore Andy Weir’s fantastic book,” Baker says.

Crisis on Mars! campers also will have the opportunity to Skype with author and computer engineer Andy Weir, who is currently adapting “The Martian” as a major motion picture directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon.

The Digital Convergence Lab (DCL) is again offering their popular Video Game Design camps, including 2-D game development, 3-D game development, co-ed camps and girls-only camps.

“A lot of people play video games,” says Aline Click, director of the DLC’s camps, “but not many people think about all the aspects of video game development. Our programs help campers learn not only how to use the applications needed to develop a game, but to deconstruct and analyze popular video games to recognize the components of truly engaging games.”

Campers also will learn about careers in video game design and interview professional game developers via Skype, Click says.

Also new this year are communications camps from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming (CLASEP). Fledgling reporters and future YouTubers alike will enjoy learning to produce content in the Digital Media Day Camp (grades 6-8; July 20-24) and TV Broadcasting Residential Camp (grades 9-12; July 26-31).

Surviving the Zombie ApocalypseHigh school students concerned about being devoured by a zombie hoard should attend CLASEP’s Geography Camp: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.

In this camp, students will explore how the physical, human and technological aspects of geography affect their daily decision-making process and learn geography-related tips that could save their lives if the dead decide to walk the earth.

“I’m always excited to provide new opportunities for young learners and to see the breadth of topics that NIU’s summer camps cover,” says Mark Pietrowski, associate director of CLASEP. “Whether you’re into creative writing, sports, or zombies, you’re going to have a great experience at an NIU summer camp.”

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Movie set clapperThe College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming offers a variety of camps to help students explore the craft behind creative endeavors, dig into dirt or numbers, or explore global issues and cultures.

  • Creative Writing Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 21-26
  • Global Leadership & Philanthropy: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 21-26
  • Speech Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 21-26
  • Film Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 5-10
  • Journalism Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 12-17
  • Archeology Day Camp: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. July 13-17
  • Foreign Language and Culture: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. July 20-24
  • Digital Media Day Camp: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. July 20-24
  • Geography Camp: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 26-31
  • TV Broadcasting Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 26-31
  • Creative Writing Day Camp: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. July 27-31

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

High school campers interested in STEM visit a clean room at NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.
High school campers interested in STEM visit a clean room
at NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.

Northern Illinois University is a regional leader in STEM studies.

Building on the popularity of community programs such as STEMfest, Science Saturdays, and STEM Read, NIU STEM Outreach and other STEM departments are expanding their summer offerings. Students can participate in day and residential camps on everything from the science of art and roller coasters to STEM and health career investigation and more.

  • Crisis on Mars!: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. June 21-26
  • STEM Career Exploration Session 1 (Choose one of the following tracks: Science, Engineering, Math): a residential camp for students entering grades 10-12. June 21-26
  • Green Energy: a day camp for students entering grades 6-8. June 21-27
  • Exploring STEM Week 1 (Choose one of the following tracks: Engineering, Nature, EV3 Robotics-Space Challenge, Art) a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 5-10 at NIU’s Lorado Taft Campus
  • Engineering Summer Academy: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 5-10
  • Exploring STEM Week 2 (Choose one of the following tracks: Waterbotics, Engineering, EV3 Robotics-Engineering Challenge, Nature) a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 12-17 at NIU’s Lorado Taft Campus
  • Eagle’s Nest STEAM Camp: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 12-17 at NIU’s Lorado Taft Campus
  • Nanotechnology: a residential camp for students entering grades 9-12. July 12-17
  • Exploring STEM Week 3 (Choose one of the following tracks: Chemistry, Art, Sports, EV3 Robotics-Engineering Challenge) a residential camp for students entering grades 7-9. July 19-24 at NIU’s DeKalb Campus
  • Engineering Amusement: a residential camp for students entering grades 5-7. July 26-31
  • STEM Career Exploration Session 2 (Choose one of the following tracks: Health, Engineering, Video Game Design): a residential camp for students entering grades 10-12. August 2-7

NIU Huskies logoSports

Young athletes can take their skills to the next level with the help of top collegiate coaches. Campers train in NIU facilities and are grouped according to age and skill level.

NIU offers a variety of day and residential camps on:

  • Athletic Training
  • Cheerleading
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Video Game Design

Campers in DCL’s video game design camps can create and produce their own fun, original games.
Campers in DCL’s video game design camps can create
and produce their own fun, original games.

The Digital Convergence Lab hosts day camps where students can explore the technical and creative side of game design. The DCL staff will guide students in animation, virtual worlds, character design, story development, logic and even sound effects as they create their games.

  • Just for Girls! Video Game Design: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. June 22-26
  • Co-ed Video Game Design Camp: Section 1: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. July 6-10
  • Co-ed Video Game Design Camp: Section 2: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. July 20-24
  • Co-ed Intro to 3D Game Design: a day camp for students entering grades 5-9. July 27-31
  • Advanced Games Camp: a day camp for students ages 13 to adult (younger students must have attended a prior game lab and get permission from Eric Russell erussell@niu.edu). August 10-14

Visual and Performing Arts

The College of Visual and Performing Arts’ summer camps offer young artists, musicians and thespians a place in the spotlight. Campers will innovate, experiment and grow as artists by participating in group activities and personal exercises and by receiving feedback from mentoring artists.

  • Jazz: a residential camp for grades 8-12 (grade completion). July 12-17
  • Theatre Arts – Junior: a residential camp for grades 6-8 (grade completion). July 12-17
  • Theatre Arts – Senior: a residential camp for grades 9-12 (grade completion). July 19-24
  • Visual Arts: a residential camp for grades 8-12 (grade completion). July 19-24

For more information on NIU’s summer camps, call (800) 345-9472.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email