Cross-Campus Collaboration

Published on August 27, 2020

Bauer College Wolff Center Supports College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics STEM Interactive Camp

Cultivating the next generation of students has always been important to the C. T. Bauer College of Business and the University of Houston.

This year, the task took on added importance, as COVID-19 spread throughout the world, and parents and educational institutions looked for ways to remain engaged with tomorrow’s potential innovators.

Bauer’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship (WCE) had to cancel its plans to host a summer camp for high school students in the Rio Grande Valley. Instead, when department chair Ed Blair learned that a three-week STEM Interactive Camp for students grade 6-9 offered by UH would launch online in June and July, he looked for a way to involve the Wolff Center.

Presented by UH’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) through their STEM teacher preparation program, teachHOUSTON, the STEM Interactive Camp is designed to teach math, science, and engineering design and innovation skills.

To say the virtual camp was a success is an understatement. More than 1,000 participants signed up in the first 48 hours after the free program was announced. Enrollment topped out at 2,000 students, with participants logging in from numerous states across the country, and even Belgium and Puerto Rico.

TeachHOUSTON Associate Director and STEM Interactive Executive Director Paige Evans said the program received 24,000 hits on lesson plans, and the staff received numerous heartfelt testimonials from kids and parents on how much the program meant to them.

The Wolff Center provided prizes and certificates of recognition for exceptional performance in each of the five topic areas of the camp and for daily STEM Scholars of the Day.

The cross-campus collaboration exemplifies one of the many ways UH and Bauer College support the broader community, in this case, stepping up to support a dynamic experience in lieu of face-to-face learning options.

“We at the Wolff Center have been interested for some time in how we can make a difference for K-12 students,” Blair said. “For example, Wolff Center students have served as mentors in various programs, and we collaborated with Junior Achievement this year to host a business plan competition at UH for high school students.”

“The STEM Interactive Camp was just what families needed at this time, and the students were super-excited to win prizes. The teachHouston team, including Co-Executive Director Mariam Manuel, did a fantastic job, and we were very happy to be able to support them,” he said.

TeachHOUSTON is largely funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and has produced 350 math and science teachers since its first graduating class in 2009. Lessons, videos and supply lists from the camp are available here.

The Wolff Center is the No. 1 undergraduate entrepreneurship program in the nation, according The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine’s annual ranking. More than 1,200 businesses have been started over the last decade by Wolff Center students and graduates, with funding of $268 million.  

By Julie Bonnin