First BLAST Camp undergoes successful lift off this summer at UTRGV

UTRGV BLAST Camp Instructor Rene Leonhardt leads a hovercraft building activity, during the Boys Learning Advanced Science & Technology Camp in late July at the UTRGV Education Complex in Edinburg. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

UTRGV BLAST Camp Instructor Rene Leonhardt leads a hovercraft building activity, during the Boys Learning Advanced Science & Technology Camp in late July at the UTRGV Education Complex in Edinburg. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

UTRGV PHOTO GALLERY BY PAUL CHOUY

password: blastcamp

By Gail Fagan

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – AUG. 3, 2017 – Middle school students had a chance to navigate an underwater robotics vehicle and experiment with hovercraft, among other activities, during the first BLAST (Boys Learning Advanced Science & Technology) Camp at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Nearly 30 boys participated in the residential camp July 25-28, as part of UTRGV’s inaugural Father-Son Project (FSP), which began this past fall as a pilot program with schools in the South Texas and Valley View independent school districts.

Patterned after the university’s 26-year-old Mother-Daughter Program, the FSP is directed at seventh- and eighth-grade boys and their fathers, to improve the father/son bond, and to engage in activities to boost self-esteem and shared learning. The FSP particularly encourages the pursuit of higher education, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

FSP provides monthly meetings with college mentors, as well as bi-monthly evening sessions with fathers, and special events. BLAST campers included FSP participants with perfect attendance, as well as students from UTRGV Educational Talent Search Program Willacy County.

The camp – which included a field excursion to the UTRGV Ridley Floating Classroom and a coastal lab tour at South Padre Island, hands-on sessions on assembling fuel cell cars and motors, and a number of motivational speakers – was taught by Rene Leonhardt, a math teacher at Dorothy Thompson Middle School in Progreso, Texas.

Schools interested in partnering with UTRGV to host the FSP at their campus should contact Barbara Garza, director, P-16 Outreach, at Barbara.garza@utrgv.edu, or call (956) 665-7597. 

ABOUT UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Gail.Fagan@UTRGV.edu
Senior Writer / 956-665-7995\ 

Marci.Caltabiano@UTRGV.edu
UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications 956-665-2742