OWU camp gets Time Warner grant

Time Warner Cable Inc. is awarding a $3,000 “Connect A Million Minds” grant to Ohio Wesleyan University’s “OWjL” summer camp program to support science, technology, engineering and math enrichment programming for gifted middle school students from nine central Ohio counties.

The Time Warner Cable funding will be used to sponsor eight classes that increase STEM understanding, interest, motivation and awareness for up to 540 OWjL participants by providing the campers with fun, hands-on learning experiences , OWU officials said.

Ohio Wesleyan will host three OWjL camps this month for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Marion, Morrow, Pickaway and Union counties.

While living on the OWU campus, the students will take part in weeklong STEM-related classes including “Murder in the Chem Lab,” “Math Competition and Problem-Solving,” “Microscopic Mythbusters” and “River Rats,” an environmental-conservation course.

Overall, OWjL offers 50 courses in both arts and sciences. Students must be nominated by principals, guidance counselors or teachers to be eligible to attend OWjL.

Executive director Susan Paxton said the Time Warner grant will help OWjL to expose gifted students at a young age to a science curriculum that both informs and entertains them.

Such exposure “may pique the students’ interest in pursuing study of the sciences in college and possibly seeking a career in a STEM field,” Paxton said.

Pronounced “owl,” the camp’s acronym stands for Ohio Wesleyan/Junior League of Columbus, which founded the program 34 years ago. Since then, more than 10,000 children have benefited from the OWjL experience.

OWjL was created following a two-year study that determined talented and gifted middle school students were underserved during the school year with programs to promote discovery and foster skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, research, leadership and communication.