Summer camp is usually for the kids, but this year about 30 local middle and high school teachers got an interactive look at new and exciting ways to engage their students during the school year.

Educators visited St. Mary’s University for an ASM Materials Camp from July 29-Aug. 2 – the first time one of the engineering and science society’s free, hands-on lab camps has been held in San Antonio.

Master teachers from ASM, along with special guest instructors and speakers, showed teachers how to make core science principles more relevant to students through simple, inexpensive experiments. Labs with metals, ceramics, polymers and composites reveal these materials’ applications in everyday life. The participants also had an opportunity to tour Southwest Research Institute laboratories as part of this week-long program.

In the end, the camp benefits students, who absorb the value of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and are encouraged to pursue careers in those fields.

“I am delighted to see the Materials Camp for Teachers come to San Antonio and to St. Mary’s University,” said Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., Dean of the St. Mary’s School of Science, Engineering and Technology. “I am especially pleased that we are offering a meaningful professional development experience for Chemistry and Physical Science teachers in our region. The ideas and concepts that they will learn over the course of this week-long camp can be taken back and implemented in their classrooms and programs.”

Since 2002, thousands of high school teachers have attended ASM Materials Camps, held during the summer at universities, community colleges and high schools in the United States and Canada. Educators receive four Continuing Education Units for attending and have the option to receive graduate level credits. They also acquire the curriculum and supplies for their own classroom.

“I am also pleased to see a vibrant partnership emerge between St. Mary’s University, ASM International, the United States Air Force, and local partners such as the San Antonio ASM Chapter and SwRI,” Erevelles said. “The School of Science, Engineering and Technology is excited to play host to teachers from our region. Faculty, staff and I look forward to hosting this event on a regular basis in the years to come.”

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