By Devin Simmons
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday April 30, 2003
Arizona Youth University provides summer classes
A new UA program will give grade school students the opportunity to go to college this summer, without having to worry about grades.
The Arizona Youth University, sponsored by the UA Extended University, is a collection of classes and camps for Tucson grade-schoolers, said Helen Macdonald, program coordinator.
"During the summer, there just (aren't) a lot of things available for kids across town," Macdonald said. "This is a great opportunity for kids to be exposed to a class-one university setting."
The youth program, which is building on the success of a previous program called SEEK (Summer Education and Enrichment for Kids), will feature a variety of classes and camps ranging from fencing to physics.
Yvonne Gallego, who has taught fencing for the last 40 years and assists the UA Fencing Club, said kids not only enjoy playing with swords, but they learn from it, too.
"With fencing kids learn a number of things that they don't get from other sports," she said. "They have to look their opponent in the eye. It teaches a sense of respect and sportsmanship."
Students will also have the opportunity take part in academic classes as well.
In the "The Physics of Flight," a class offered by the physics department, young students will learn about a different mode of flight each day, said Ingrid Novodvorsky, an assistant professor of physics. After learning about hot-air balloons, gliders and engine-powered aircraft, the students will go on a field trip to the Pima Air and Space Museum.
The class will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight, said Greg Hodgins, a research specialist in the department.
"It really should be fantastic," Hodgins said. "This is the ideal age for learning, before they become jaded and think they know everything."
Other programs include a music institute teaching jazz and vocal ensembles, a workshop in film and TV editing with media arts graduate students and a science and astronomy camp at Kitt Peak Observatory.
The youth university is not only a good opportunity for kids, but also for the university, Macdonald said. A number of the classes will be taught by graduate assistants hoping to gain valuable teaching experience outside of the general college classroom.
The program will also serve as a recruitment tool for the university by attracting kids who are interested in information in their own community, Macdonald said.
Extended University has taken the message to local high schools and middle schools in an attempt to boost participation.
"There has been a really good response so far," Macdonald said. "But we could always use more."
The youth university is for students grades 1-12 and will run from June 2 to June 12. Pricing varies for the different camps and classes.
For more information about the program, including cost and enrollment, go to www.eu.arizona.edu/child/. Or contact the Extended University at 621-7724.