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The Catalyst

Brainiacs: Camps offered all summer

By Ashley Barker
Public Relations

Children interested in science spent part of their summer looking at tissue slices, hair cells and bugs under microscopes, touching a human brain used for research and performing their own experiments.

Biology Brainiac campers, ages 8 to 11, examine human brains and a spinal cord.
Biology Brainiac campers, ages 8 to 11, examined brains and a spinal cord supplied by MUSC.

They’re participants in the 16th year of Kids’ College at Trident Technical College, which offers 104 summer camps ranging from topics on culinary arts, video-game design and mobile application programming to SAT prep help, forensics knowledge and 21st century life skills.

Three of the camps are taught by fifth-year MUSC student Natasha New, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences with a concentration in neuroscience. She taught Biology Brainiacs, June 10 – 14, and will lead the Biomedical Imaging Technology and Neuropalooza camps in July and August. 

“For the younger kids, I just want to get them interested in science. It’s kind of a mini-anatomy class,” New said.

In Biology Brainiacs, New presented a human brain to the campers, ages 8 to 11, and went over the body systems.

“When my mom told me we were going to look at brains, that made me want to do the camp,” said Ian Salters, a 9-year-old Porter-Gaud School student. He and 10 other campers took a just-for-fun memory test, discussed the differences between human and gorilla brains, and learned about the body’s fight or flight response during a stressful event.

Biomedical Imaging Technology and Neuropalooza are more advanced camps designed for youth between 12 and 16 years old.

“Seeing kids get excited about science is really awesome to me,” New said. “High-school-aged kids don’t really get too excited about school. I know I didn’t when I was that age. So to see them voluntarily come to a camp about something they’re interested in and wanting to learn about it is really cool.”

New, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the College of Charleston in 2008, designed the Biomedical Imaging Technology camp for children who are interested in the physics behind the different imaging techniques.

The new course will be offered twice – July 8-12 at Trident’s Mount Pleasant campus and July 15-19 at Trident’s main campus in North Charleston. New will teach the basics of wave optics, nanotechnology, nuclear chemistry and light spectroscopy in order to explain how a microscope works, how a camera bends light and how a person can use magnets to create a picture.

“It’s geared towards the science behind all of the pretty pictures that we see in the newspaper,” New said.

In Neuropalooza, campers will learn about Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases, how exercise is good for the brain and the influence of drugs on the brain.

Students who have an interest in psychology, human behavior or neurobiology are encouraged to attend this camp, which will be held July 29 through Aug. 2 at the main campus.

For more information about the Kids’ College summer camps at Trident Technical College, visit To register, call 574-6152.

June 19, 2013

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