Blood spatter and episodes of “CSI” led a trail to the West Virginia University campus for 13-year-old Nathan Grunau.
The Clarksburg resident signed up for a weeklong Forensic Science Day Camp that unveiled to him and 20 other junior high students a world beyond whodunnits, fingerprints and DNA analysis.
Youth Summer Events 2011
* Academic STARS - 6/26-7/30
* Aerospace Summer Aviation Camp - 6/16-6/17
* African American Arts - 7/18-7/23
* Before U Kick - 6/17-6/19
* Boys Soccer Collegiate Prep Academy - 7/7-7/10
* Boys Soccer Camp - 6/27-7/1
* Brush with Dentistry - 6/24-6/25
* Clarks Green UMC App. Service Pro. - 7/2-7/3
* Cross Pointe Church - 6/18-6/25
* Engineers of Tomorrow - 6/19-6/30
* Football 7 on 7 - 6/24-6/25
* Football Team Camp - 6/22-6/25
* Forensics Camp - 7/25-7/29
* Friends of Appalachia ASP Trip - 6/25-7/3
* Governor's Honors Academy - 6/24-7/17
* Governors School Math & Science - 7/12-8/4
* Gymnastics Camp - 6/16-6/24
* HCOP II (PE) - 6/11-7/22
* High School Flute Camp - 6/22-6/25
* HOBY Conference - 6/1-6/5
* Honors Leadership Academy - 7/17-8/6
* HSTA Students & Mentors - 7/10-7/22
* Jamfest Basketball - 7/13-7/16
* Men's Basketball Camps - 6/4-7/27
* Mexican Delegation State 4-H - 7/1-7/9
* National Science Foundation - 6/5-6/11
* New Student Orientation - 5/31-6/24
* Old Presbyterian Meeting House - 7/10-7/15
* PA Perimeter Ride Against Cancer - 8/1-8/2
* Pulsar Search Collaboratory Seminar - 5/21-5/25
* Seamless Transition Program - 7/9-7/30
* Soccer Camp for Girls - 7/16-7/19
* State 4-H Development - 7/27-7/30
* Summer Law Institute - 5/22-5/26
* Summer Science Camp - 6/20-6/24
* SV Temple Spiritual Summer Camp - 7/23-7/30
* Track & Field/Cross Country Camp - 7/10-7/14
* Trucksville United Methodist Church - 6/18-6/19
* University of Applied Sciences - 7/11-8/5
* Volleyball Camp - 7/15-7/17
* Women's Basketball Camps - 6/18-6/26
* WVU Flute Seminar - 6/10-6/17
* Young Writers - 6/13-6/15
All summer, youth camps and other events held on WVU’s campus expose children and teenagers to what it’s like to be in Mountaineer territory.
Not only do participants walk away from these camps with a newfound sense of skills and fundamentals, but a lasting impression of the WVU campus and all its glory.
Youths develop friendships and memories that tie their camp experience with WVU, ultimately serving as an effective recruiting tool for the university, say camp organizers.
After processing mock crime scenes and observing saliva samples under special lamps, Grunau figured he’ll end up at WVU when it comes time to pack up for college.
“I’ve been on campus before, but I’ve not seen any of the facilities like this,” he said of his recent experience at WVU. “I like it quite a bit. It’s close to home and the buildings and equipment I’ve seen so far look pretty cool. It’s a really neat place to be.”
Such camps provide youth a gamut of activities during the dog days of summer. They also offer youngsters a taste of campus life, and they make Jamie Ealy’s job a bit easier. Ealy is director of Undergraduate Student Recruitment at WVU. He said getting kids on campus is simply one of the best recruiting tools a university can offer.
A first-hand look at WVU can change any misperceptions they may have had about the campus, he noted.
“You have a lot of in-state kids come here who think Morgantown is the big city,” Ealy said. “Out-of-state kids have different perceptions of what Morgantown might be. Those myths are dispelled once they’re here. Just being here is a positive.
“People visiting a large university like WVU don’t expect it to be as personable or friendly. Yet we continually get comments about how friendly the people are here.”
Ealy’s office hosts Mountaineer Visitation Days – yet another summertime event that opens WVU’s door for possible students. Mountaineer Visitation Days offer students interested in applying to WVU tours of the campus and meetings with faculty and staff.
The inaugural Forensic Science Day Camp, hosted by the Forensic and Investigative Science Program, may have lured other future Mountaineers.
Sydney Shaffer, 12, of Fairmont, has toured the Student Rec Center and other campus hotspots that have won her over. The Forensic Science Day Camp seemed to be the icing on the cake for her.
“I want to be a forensic scientist and I now know that WVU is a great campus for that,” she said.
A Wadestown resident, 13-year-old Heather Joyce has visited the campus previously for math field day and other activities. Her science teacher at Clay-Battelle Middle School distributed pamphlets for the forensics camp, and she signed up.
“I like the hands-on activities of this camp,” she said. “I’ve learned how you can tell where someone’s standing by one swab of blood, and how different stains look under special lights.”
Tina Moroose, a teaching assistant professor who organized the camp, said the event drew students from all over West Virginia. Junior high students attended the camp the first week while high school students participated another week. It served as a key opportunity to showcase the entire campus and the forensics program.
“Some kids from out of town toured the campus while they were here,” Moroose said. “On a larger scale, it’s a huge recruiting tool for us. Once they come here and see what we have, they never want to leave.”
The forensics program stakes claim to 18,000 square feet of lab space in Oglebay Hall, inducing awe in the students.
Sometimes, the charm and attraction of WVU reaches beyond Morgantown.
The WVU Extension Service is known nationwide for its strong camping program, and hosts 4-H summer camps and events in every West Virginia county, as well as at Jackson’s Mill Extension Service Associate Director Ann Bailey Berry estimates more than 16,000 youths will attend 4-H camps through summer. Some of the camps have very specialized themes – including training junior firefighters, science and technology, and nutrition and wellness camps.
“I was at our Pleasants County 4-H camp, helping a camp class create a supplement for the local newspaper. I asked one girl about her plans after high school,” Berry said. “She is interested in journalism, but was uncertain about a visit to WVU. With a little encouragement, now she’s going to come up to visit the campus.”
Sports camps, which are conducted by WVU’s athletic coaches, are just as prominent during the summer.
America’s favorite pastime lends itself to pitching possible students to the university. Baseball Head Coach Greg Van Zant runs the summer baseball camp for youths ranging from 6 to 21.
Van Zant said several past camp participants have wound up playing for the WVU baseball squad.
“For a lot of kids, it’s their first time to Morgantown and WVU,” Van Zant said. “The primary purpose of our baseball camps is to teach baseball. But anytime these kids are here, they have a golden opportunity to see our campus.”
By Jake Stump
CONTACT: University Relations/News
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