Local STEM students and teacher attend Tapia Camps at Rice University

Barbers Hill ISD and Goose Creek CISD have a few students and a teacher kicking off the school year with newfound skills and confidence in the classroom thanks to a summer of learning and growth at Rice University’s prestigious camps hosted by The Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity in Education.

The Tapia Camps, supported in part by ExxonMobil, are available to rising 8th-12th graders and feature a five-night, six-day residential experience with a challenging STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum. Campers experiment with hands-on STEM projects that simulate real world problems. This summer, campers completed a brand-new project developed by the Tapia Center and ExxonMobil that explored safe storage of carbon dioxide underground in order to slow climate change. Another project challenged students to design their own computational algorithm for equitable college admissions. During camp, students also enhance their communication and team building skills by learning how to simplify complicated STEM ideas through completion of an end of camp oral presentation – all while experiencing life on a college campus.

“The Tapia Camps deliver high quality education and mentorship to students of all backgrounds. We help them develop their STEM skills, improve their communication abilities, build confidence, and connect with peers and role models who share their backgrounds and interests,” said Dr. Paul Hand, director of the Tapia Camps at Rice University. “Additionally, we provide professional development programs to equip educators with tools and skills to be more successful with student engagement in the classroom, promoting a more impactful educational experience for all.”

The professional development camp for educators of all subjects and levels provides participants the tools to implement project-based learning—a set of techniques that encourage hands-on, engaging experiences— in their classrooms. Teachers who complete the program earn Continuing Professional Education (CPE) hours.

This summer, more than 500 students and educators from across Texas and beyond attended the camps. Individuals or school districts looking to register for summer 2024 can reach out to The Tapia Center at tapiacenter@rice.edu or 713-348-5182. Corporations and charitable foundations interested in sponsorship opportunities may also reach out to The Tapia Center for more information.