Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

May 13, 2005

Nationally Honoured Student and Aboriginal Science Part of S@GE 2005

Grade 7 and 8 students attending this year’s S@GE, the University of Guelph’s popular science camp, are gaining some first-hand knowledge about aboriginal science from a University of Guelph graduate student.

Cara Ann Wehkamp, who has been nationally honoured for her work in promoting the advancement of aboriginal post-secondary students and aboriginal culture, has been chosen as this year’s S@GE celebrity.

More than 1,000 students are participating in the three-day camp sessions that started May 4 and run to June 17.

“I am honoured to be part of this year’s S@GE,” says Wehkamp, who is of Algonquin heritage and is working toward a PhD in environmental biology. “I really like working with kids, so I’m excited to get to know some of them and share some of my stories and experiences. I find it very encouraging to see how excited they are about learning.”

In addition to spearheading the first Aboriginal Student Association at U of G, Wehkamp was the recipient of the university’s Andre Auger Citizenship Award for her work in raising the profile of aboriginal college and university students and aboriginal culture and language. In 2004, she was chosen as one of Canada’s 12 national aboriginal role models and shares stories of her success with youth as part of the National Aboriginal Health Organization’s National Aboriginal Role Model Program. She has also competed at the national level as an equestrian.

Wehkamp is co-instructing, along with Jaime Mishibinijima, aboriginal student adviser and PhD student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, “Aboriginal Science — The Physics of Sound,” using aboriginal drums to show how different sounds are made. Students are learning about the cultural significance of drumming to Aboriginal Peoples and building drums of their own.

Now in its seventh year, S@GE is a residential science and technology program co-sponsored by the Office of Open Learning, Hospitality Services and Student Housing Services. Groups of up to 35 students participate in one of the nine three-day sessions. Participants get a full university experience; they stay in residence with their teachers and chaperones, eat on campus and experience interactive learning using university computer and laboratory facilities.

The learning modules are designed along the themes of the Ontario school science curriculum to promote intellectual creativity and a sense of discovery. The modules are developed by university faculty and are typically taught by graduate students or fourth-year undergraduates doing research in the subject area. Participants are able to use research equipment or resources that provide a practical hands-on approach to learning.

Other topics include “Extreme Aquatic,” “Rockin’ Robots” and “The Geography of Natural Disasters.”

For more information on S@GE, call the Office of Open Learning at (519) 767-5000.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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