For the last 11 years, high school students and teachers from rural communities in Wisconsin have journeyed to Madison to dig into stem cell science, learning from leading researchers in regenerative medicine.
Sponsored by the Morgridge Institute for Research, the weeklong Rural Summer Science Camp explores regenerative medicine through topics like tissue engineering, drug discovery, microfluidics and medical imaging. Dan Murphy, Outreach Coordinator at the Morgridge Institute and one of the camp organizers, says it’s an opportunity for the students to learn more about the scientific process and what it means to be a scientist today.
“Science is interdisciplinary and really cool things happen at the intersections,” says Murphy. “Scientists ask questions and try to figure out how to answer those questions. The campers have the opportunity to see themselves in that role.”
Campers have the opportunity to work with scientists at various stages in their careers from undergraduate students to graduate researchers to principal investigators from the Morgridge Insitute and UW-Madison.
“It’s easy for us to do what we do because scientists at the Discovery Building and across UW-Madison already value this work,” says Murphy. “We don’t have to convince them to care about outreach.”
Morgridge runs the camp in partnership with the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance (WRSA). It is supported by an endowment established by the family of Kathleen Smith, a former trustee of both the Morgridge Institute and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. WRSA and the Melita Grunow outreach endowment at Morgridge also support the camp.