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Camp ‘Energizes’ students

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Amanda Crane/Press-Tribune Hunter Courtney takes part in a day of learning during Energy Camp II at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday.

Amanda Crane

acrane@bossierpress.com

 

Energy Camp Louisiana sparked enough interest in its original week-long camp that its alumni were invited back for a brand new and exclusive experience this summer.

Energy Camp II was formed with the intention of giving previous campers a chance to expand their knowledge on the world of energy and natural gas while doing so in ways unlike they had ever experienced before. Patti Trudell, Executive Director of CERT who wrote a grant to fund the new camp, said the goal was to make the second week of Energy Camp Louisiana challenging, engaging and exciting.

“We wanted it to be a lot more hands on this time,” Trudell said. “The instructors go more in-depth using more creative and innovative ways. We really want this to blend the pathway from secondary to post secondary education.”

This time, students stepped off the Bossier Parish Community College campus during two trips that took them to Dallas, Texas and Louisiana Tech University in Ruston.

The group made a three hour journey west on Wednesday for a day trip to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, located in Victory Park near downtown Dallas. According to its website, the Perot Museum exposes children to “a world of ideas and concepts in science, math and technology,” all in one “spectacular location.”

“By offering hands-on ways to learn about scientific evidence, mathematical concepts and natural history, the Museum will profoundly affect what and how our kids experience science and nature.”

Students descended upon the 180,000-square-foot facility with excitement, particularly when visiting the Tom Hunt Energy Hall. It was there that everything they learned at Energy Camp Louisiana came to life through hands-on exhibits and interactive models.

The Tom Hunt Energy Hall is an expedition into the realm of all things energy, from natural gas to solar to wind energy and every source of energy fueled by science. Carrie Salinas, lead instructor of Energy Camp II at BPCC, said the exhibit hall was a tremendous asset to the camp.

“This is a whole floor of hands-on interaction related to the topics we’ve been discussing,” Salinas said. “It basically goes through and explains everything they have learned with us at Energy Camp or back at school. It really pulls it all together with real opportunities.”

Haughton High School graduates Vivien Nguyen and Rayven Miles were among the 30 alumni returning to Energy Camp. Miles said she wanted to come back to see if she still had an interest in the oil & gas and energy field.

“It was really fun and I loved it,” she said, describing her experience at Energy Camp I. “I’m definitely still interested in it.”

Nguyen said her favorite part of Energy Camp II was visiting the Perot Museum. This fall, she plans to attend Boston University to pursue a degree in biochemistry.

Salinas said it was a privilege to be part of the first Energy Camp II with the first group of returning students. She hopes Energy Camp Louisiana will continue to be a strong foundation for students to build on as they become the next generation of leaders in the oil & gas industry.

“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to bring knowledge to young people regarding the energy industry. Oil and gas are number one in our area, but alternative [sources] are where we’re headed.”

Energy Camp Louisiana is a joint effort of CERT, the Consortium for Education, Research and Technology of North Louisiana along with our anchor sponsor Shell, plus the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, American Electric Power Foundation, CenterPoint Energy and the Grayson Foundation. Their goal is to expose students to the exciting and vital role the energy industry is playing in Northwest Louisiana. The camp is designed to educate and energize local youth about fossil fuels, alternative energies and energy efficiency and conservation.

Students attending schools in Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto, Natchitoches and Red River Parishes who are interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) are encouraged to attend Energy Camp Louisiana. Both Nguyen and Miles recommend

“This is an experience they need to have,” Miles said.

For more information on Energy Camp Louisiana, visit the CERT website at www.certla.org/energycamp.cfm or the Energy Camp Facebook page at www.facebook.com/energycamp.louisiana