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Middle school students attend math, science camp

Institute of Surgical Research at SAMMC camp gives students taste of being scientists

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SAN ANTONIO – Some local students are getting a taste of being scientists for the summer by taking part in the Army's Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science -- or GEMS -- camp.

About 15 students from across the city signed up for the camp and were dressed for the part on Tuesday with lab coats, gloves and goggles.

"I feel like, 'Ooh, let's do stuff,'" said 12-year-old Jasmine Villarreal.

"I love science and I've always gotten good grades. Science is one of my best subjects," said 11-year-old Caleb Chase.

Even though school is out for the summer, these kids chose to continue learning at the four-day camp.

The camp setting is an actual lab at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at San Antonio Military Medical Center.

"Especially being here with all the research that's going on and they can see people going in and out of our lab, it's just an awesome experience for them," said Leigh Anne McIver, a GEMS resource teacher.

In addition, the experiments performed by the students are identical to those done by actual scientists.

On Tuesday the group swabbed for germs to grow on a petri dish.

"The experiments we do, they're really cool," said Chase.

Three camps are scheduled this summer. Organizers say there's already a waiting list.

For more information, click here (PDF).