Clarkson University ‘Horizons’ camp teaches North Country students resilience strategies


Clarkson University’s 2021 Horizons Program

Photo: Clarkson University

POTSDAM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Clarkson University has again marked an annual summer program as a success.

This past summer, middle and high school students from across the North Country were invited to take park in Clarkson University’s Horizon Program. This program led both in-person and virtual camps focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

According to Clarkson, this year’s theme was “Resilience: Awareness and Sustainability.” Those who attended in-person day camps learned about water science, math, and sustainability, and the virtual campers learned about data science, coding, survival awareness, and sustainability. 

During the day camps, students were tasked to work in small groups to develop proposals in achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. This was based on “The Sustainabile Development Goals” released by the United Nations in 2015.

The program also hosted two consecutive week-long overnight camps. These camps discussed topics in college admissions and financial aid, entrepreneurship, negotiation, public speaking, leadership and teamwork.

Specifically, students worked through scenarios that highlighted the importance of STEAM disciplines by serving as a a team of “team” of Civilian Experts for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The scenario itself focused on Hurricane Maria that devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. The students were challenge on how to help a small village stranded due to a bridge being washed away.

Students were then divided into five teams which included teams dedicated to civil engineering, medicine, public health, logistics, governance and public relations. Teams then worked throughout the week on their solutions and gave two presentations; one which included a “Shark Tank” pitch of a designed product and one of the team’s findings and solutions.

According to Clarkson, the Horizons program’s mission is to “drive genuine and inclusive culture change,” for students in the North County. It aims to provide tools to help participants excel in STEAM fields.

The Horizons Program is directed by Dr. Melissa Richards and is one of the K12 outreach programs within the Institute for STEM Education. Participants are taught by a diverse staff of educators and are mentored by program assistants who are undergraduate or graduate college students.

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