NIU Physical Science Careers Camp gets hands-on


Campers in the Northern Illinois Universoty Physical Science Careers Camp learn from experts on a guided tour of Fermilab.
Campers in the Northern Illinois Universoty Physical Science Careers Camp learn from experts on a guided tour of Fermilab.

DeKALB – The Physical Science Careers Camp at Northern Illinois University is getting a reboot this summer, offering high school students new hands-on opportunities to explore careers in chemistry and physics.

At the helm of this redesigned camp is Kate Powers, a STEM educator in the NIU Center for P-20 Engagement and an experienced research chemist who is excited to share her knowledge with campers.

“I earned my Master of Science at University of Alberta studying inorganic synthetic chemistry, so I have extensive hands-on experience in the lab,” Powers said in a news release. “I know the value of working on an open-ended experiment without any ‘correct’ answer at the end, and I am excited to give students the opportunity to work on a project like that. I also have BFA in Design from NIU, so I like bringing a creative-solution style to the lab.”

The Physical Science Careers Camp is one of eight different STEM Career Exploration Camps offered by NIU STEM Outreach. The Career Exploration Camps are weeklong residential camps for students entering grades nine through 12. NIU faculty and staff in several colleges and Career Services as well as local professionals will staff specialized tracks in coding, engineering, 3-D design and manufacturing, health sciences, physical sciences, social hacking and video game design.

This year’s campers can expect to benefit from Powers’ research experience with an expanded curriculum combining chemistry and physics with the principles of product design.

“The campers will be designing a high-powered battery,” Powers said in the release. “It will be a completely open-ended project where the students will get to experiment with every aspect of the battery, from electrolyte to anodes and cathodes. Once they have perfected their batteries they will power model space rovers. Research into batteries and energy storage is a crucial and fast-growing field.”

In addition to conducting applied research, students will have a chance to meet with various professionals in the field. One of the highlights of the camp is the annual tour of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

For more information or to register for STEM Career Camps, visit A searchable list of all NIU summer camps is available at

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