Main Menu

New summer academic camps are open to middle school-age kids

ISSUED: 20 March 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University is preparing to host some younger students in mid-July when it offers Ram Scholars Summer Camps for middle and high school students. Jack Shaw, assistant vice president for auxiliary enterprises, said the four camps will each focus on a different theme.

Two sports-related camps, Tennis for Life and Ram Fit Camp, are scheduled July 20-24. Camps planned for July 27-31 are Robotics Camp and an art camp focusing on literature and theater called Ready, Set, Action.

The camps are geared toward students entering sixth through ninth grade. Shaw said the robotics camp is a little more advanced and would appeal to middle school students who are highly advanced mathematically and students entering ninth through 11th grade.

Jessica Graham, clinical faculty and human performance director in the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sports, will run the Ram Fit Camp. It will utilize Shepherd’s human performance lab and teach kids how to stay in shape and how to balance nutrition with athletic performance.

“It’s a fitness for life program where she’s going to take kids through a lot of kinesiology, understanding how movement and particular exercise can make them perform better,” Shaw said. “This will appeal to kids who want to be more fit or who want to perform better at whatever sport they do.”

Rhonda Hovatter, assistant professor of physical education, will oversee Tennis for Life. It will cover the history of the game and teach basic and intermediate playing skills.

The Robotics Camp will be geared toward high school-age students. The camp will be run by Reza Mirdamadi, chair of the Department of Computer Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering, and William Richards, a junior computer engineering major from Charles Town and president of the Shepherd University Robotics Club.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to engage with some of our top Shepherd students who are running a very successful robotics program on campus,” Shaw said.

In Ready, Set, Action, Dr. LeAnn Johnson, visiting assistant professor of education, will guide students in grades five through eight as they create a video after reading a short story or classic piece of literature. Shaw said this activity encourages the kids to use a variety of skills.

“They’ll have to read the short story, understand the theme or the plot, then translate that into a video,” he said. “I think parents can be really excited about that because what it’s about is understanding a piece of literature and translating that to film. But kids are going to get really excited about it because it’s doing something they really enjoy—making a YouTube video.”

This is the first year Shepherd is offering summer academic camps for kids. Shaw said there are plans to offer more in the future. He sees the camps as a great way for the university to connect with the community.

“I would like to see kids grow up on our campus just as much as they grow up in Jefferson County or Berkeley County,” he said. “And whether they’re coming to football games, or performances, or summer camps, I would like to see local kids develop an affinity for Shepherd University.”

The camps cost $275 a week, excluding lunch. Campers can either pack a lunch or buy it at a reduced price at the Ram’s Den or Wellness Café. The camps will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Campers will participate in class and lab activities, and will have recreational opportunities like swimming, bowling, and playing basketball or ping pong.

For more information, contact Shaw at 304-876-5149 or at To learn more about the camps, or to register go to Rams Scholars Summer Camps.

Listen to the interview with Jack Shaw HERE.

— 30 —