Summer at VU means diverse academies and camps for all ages and interests

Summer at VU means diverse academies and camps for all ages and interests

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June 29, 2022

June 29, 2022

VINCENNES, Ind. - The summer program season at Vincennes University is in full swing and bustling with activities. From robotics to music production to a healthcare escape room to hydroponic agriculture to writer studios, youth of all ages and backgrounds are coming together for a summer of unforgettable experiences.

VU offers a unique environment for engaged and creative learning through its summer pre-college programs, sports camps, STEM academies, and more

A number of educational opportunities are available at no cost to youths and their families, thanks to many generous supporters including Lilly Endowment Inc.

VU is reaching underserved populations, providing them access to rich learning atmospheres, and bringing students to campus for immersive experiences. They make new connections with peers and participate daily in fun social activities.

Carissa Brown of Princeton, Indiana, still has a year of high school remaining, but this summer, she is living the life of a college student. Brown is a participant in VU’s six-week Upward Bound summer program.

She is experiencing dorm life and taking courses on the Vincennes Campus. She is excited about the friendships she is building with students from different high schools.

"This is more than what I would normally do in the summer," Brown said. "We do so many cool things, and we are having so much fun."

Brown and her fellow Upward Bound students take high-school level English, math, laboratory science, and foreign language classes in the morning. In the afternoon, they engage in enrichment classes such as Lego engineering, financial planning, theater, and film literature. They also participate in social activities like escape rooms, bowling, kickball, and other fun entertainment.

“This program helps build character,” Brown said. “I hope to leave here better prepared for the upcoming school year and to make sure that I am fully committed to what I want to do with my life.”

On a recent morning, you could find Jose Boyzo of Indianapolis sitting in front of a computer in VU’s Shircliff Humanities Center, wearing headphones, and using specialized devices and software to create and edit original music as part of an accelerated music production course. 

The Ben Davis University High School student was among hundreds of students from across Indiana on the Vincennes Campus for the residential XMester and Techmester programs. Students engaged in a wide range of hands-on academic experiences and projects such as crime scene analysis, graphic design, horticulture, and automotive technology. The highlight of the week was a showcase held on the last day. Students put their final projects on display and showed off all they learned.

For Boyzo, it was a memorable week as he experienced eating meals in a college dining hall, having roommates, and being away from his family.

"This is great," he said. "I have the freedom to go to my dorm or be outside on campus. In my free time, I have played volleyball, football, and soccer. You can walk around campus, and there is always something to do. I’m leaving here more comfortable with college and the concept of college. When people go to look at colleges, I understand now because before, I didn’t. Now I know what to look for."

Rising sophomore Hannah Thomas of Florence, Indiana, immediately knew she wanted to participate in the first-time STEM Academy on the VU Jasper Campus. 

She is greatly interested in STEM, particularly the engineering and medical fields. From learning to program a collaborative robot or 'cobot' to grab and stack Starburst candies to practicing medical procedures on a simulation manikin, she was blown away by all of the hands-on learning.

"I am having a blast," Thomas said. "I would totally do it all over again if I had the chance. I had so much fun with the collaborative robots. That was crazy how you could tell it what to do, and it did it. I didn’t really know that STEM had to do with medical stuff. I got here, and I’m like this is right up my alley."

VU is hosting an array of sports camps for youth from 6 to 18 years old. Trailblazer coaches offer camps for baseball, basketball, volleyball, and more at the University's top-notch facilities.

Several of the academies, programs, and camps VU offers include,

  • STEM Academies on the Vincennes Campus and Jasper Campus are new intensive summer experiences for junior high and high school students who learn about career paths in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while experiencing campus life. Students engage in hands-on STEM activities and labs such as bat identification, electrofishing, coding, circuitry, and programming a collaborative robot. They will also interact with STEM employers and VU alumni working in STEM fields. Participants at the weeklong Vincennes Campus will stay in residence halls and earn two college credits. 
  • Upward Bound offers a six-week summer residential program on the Vincennes Campus that serves first-generation and/or income-eligible students from 12 high schools throughout southwest Indiana. Students take high-school classes in the morning, and enjoy enrichment classes and social activities for the remainder of the day.
  • Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) Summer Academy is a weeklong leadership development and college preparation residential camp on the Vincennes Campus for high school students across Indiana. Students participate in academic coursework, learn college success strategies, and have an opportunity to earn free college credit to help prepare them for academic, personal, and career success. They also experience teambuilding activities, a service-learning project, and enriching group events like visiting a theme park.
  • Upward Bound Olympiad is a two-day event that brings students to the Vincennes Campus for academic and sports competitions. Students will stay in a residence hall, tour camps, and participate in social activities.
  • XMester is a residential experience that gives Early College students and other high school students a head start in preparing for success in college and their intended careers. Students take accelerated courses in liberal arts, business, law, and more plus earn college credit.
  • Techmester is a new and exciting multi-day program on the Vincennes Campus for Early College students and high school students from all parts of Indiana interested in career and technical education. They engage in project-based activities related to advanced manufacturing, automotive technology, and other industries while earning college credit and staying in residence halls.
  • Surveying Technology Camp is a unique and first-time residential experience for high school students on the Vincennes Campus. Campers explore land surveying as a profession by learning surveying basics and operating equipment, network with industry professionals, and enjoy exciting social activities.

For more about VU's summer academies, programs, and camps or hosting a camp at VU, explore