Institute gives high school students unique learning experiences
July 8, 1999
KALAMAZOO -- A summit on school violence, an examination of
the gypsy moth problem and lessons on building telescopes, making
paper from pulp and creating loud noises through chemistry are
on tap for 120 gifted high school seniors and juniors who will
be at Western Michigan University July 11-24 for the Summer Institute
for the Arts and Sciences.
The institute, sponsored by a grant from the Michigan State
Board of Education and WMU, will bring students from across the
state to Kalamazoo for the two-week residential program. WMU was
one of eight universities in Michigan chosen to host the institute.
Focusing on a theme of "The Art of Technology and the
Science of Culture: Building a Global Village," the institute
will present students with a variety of classes that draw from
the talents of University faculty and staff as well as others
from the community. Dr. Melissa Gibson, institute director, says
the institute was designed to offer a vast array of learning opportunities
that allow students to recognize and understand the link between
science and art and the role these play in the rapidly evolving
The institute combines intensive classes, where students study
one field in-depth for two weeks, with exploratory sessions, in
which they will learn about a wide variety of topics. In addition,
activities are planned, including a summit on school violence,
that will allow participants to discuss controversial and important
topics in detail.
Among the classes and activities planned of interest are:
- Summit on School Violence, 7-9 p.m., Thursday July
15, 157 Bernhard Center. A variety of educational leaders, governmental
officials, and religious and community leaders have been invited
to serve as discussion group leaders to facilitate brainstorming
on the topic of school violence prevention. The summit will result
in an informal report by the students that will be submitted
to Gov. John Engler.\
- Exploring the gypsy moth problem: Dr. Steve Malcolm,
associate professor of biological sciences and an internationally-known
expert on monarch butterflies, will teach an intensive class
each weekday morning from 9 a.m.-noon that will focus on plant
and insect ecology and the chemical defenses plants use in combating
plant-munching insects. As part of this class, Malcolm will take
students out in the field to examine the damage done by the recent
gypsy moth outbreak in Southwest Michigan. The students will
assess the extent of the damage and whether or not the oak trees
affected are showing signs of recovery. In addition, the class
will discuss control strategies and ways in which the trees may
be defending themselves.
- Making movies: Two intensive classes will have
students in charge of developing their own video productions.
One class, taught by Mark Peeters, an instructor at the Kalamazoo
Mathematics and Science Center, will show students how to use
computer graphics and animation software to develop a video.
Students will also write and compose original soundtracks for
their videos. A second class, taught by Dr. Nancy Cornwell, assistant
professor of communication, will teach students to write, shoot
and edit videos using state-of-the-art digital editing equipment.
Both classes' video projects will center on the institute's global
In addition, more than 70 exploratory sessions, offered each
afternoon from 1:30 to 3 p.m., will address topics including world
religions, jewelry making, painting, leadership, gender differences,
career choices, biology and sociology. Among these are:
- A mini-session on making a Mini-Me: Monday, July 12,
324 Moore Hall. Dr. Sylvia Culp, associate professor of philosophy,
will discuss the potential use of cloning practices on human
beings and the biomedical ethics of such practices in the future.
- From wood chips to comic books: a 2-day session, Tuesday
and Wednesday, July 13 and 14; and Tuesday and Wednesday, July
20 and 21; 2720 McCracken Hall. Taught by Dr. Raja Aravamuthan,
professor of paper and printing science, students will learn
about and experiment with the process of converting wood chips
to pulp to paper and then printing on the paper and converting
it back to pulp.
- How Luke and Darth really fought: a
2-day session, Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13 and 14, and Tuesday
and Wednesday, July 20 and 21, Multi-Form Theatre in the Dalton
Center. Karen Pruis will teach students about swordplay and how
to stage a combat scene so that it appears real.
- Ouch! That hurts!: Thursday, July 15, and Thursday,
July 22, 2025 Haenicke Hall. Directed by Cathy Laurencig, an
instructor at Portage Central High School, students will participate
in medical procedures on their own blood samples to determine
various health factors and the condition of their blood.
- Loud noises through chemistry: Monday, July 19, 5210
McCracken Hall. Mike McCarville will teach students how to safely
perform demonstrations in which small explosions cause loud noises.
Earplugs will be provided.
- Hubble beginnings: Monday, July 19, and Thursday,
July 22, 1413 Wood Hall. Dr. Larry Oppliger, chairperson of the
Department of Science Studies, will teach students to build their
own telescopes to use and take home.
- How does your brain work?: a 2-day session offered
Tuesday and Wednesday, July 13 and 14; and Tuesday and Wednesday,
July 20 and 21; 2902 Wood Hall. The next time they get asked
that question, these students will have answers. Taught by Dr.
Lisa E. Baker, associate professor of psychology, students will
explore the anatomy of the brain and learn how neural cells communicate
and how various drugs interact with these cells to interfere
with information processing by the brain.
Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA