Sciencepalooza! Brings Kids and Scientists Together

By: Anita Srikameswaran and Tim Betler

More than 200 young summer campers from local chapters of the YMCA and YWCA got to touch bones, peer through microscopes, experience angular momentum by spinning around on a stool and much more at “Sciencepalooza!,” an event on Friday that was arranged by Pitt Science Outreach, part of the university’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Judy Cameron, Pitt neuroscientist and CTSI’s director of science outreach, said studies have shown children who have positive experiences with science between fourth and sixth grade are more likely to continue taking science classes in high school and beyond, and have a better understanding of scientific concepts as adults.

Besides, “this event is as much fun for the scientists who put it together as it is for the kids,” she said. “We love watching them ask and answer questions, make discoveries, and enjoy learning.”

Kids ages 6 to 14 from the Hazelwood YMCA, the Thelma Lovette YMCA, the Homewood-Brushton YWCA, the Collegiate YMCA, and the Wilmerding YMCA summer camp took part in the day-long event. In 2012, the Pitt Science Outreach Program reached more than 10,000 people in the region.