Virtual camp will introduce high-schoolers to neuroscience

LEWISBURG, WV (WOAY) – For the first time ever, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) will host its annual Just Say KNOW educational summer camp virtually rather than on the school’s campus in Lewisburg.

The weeklong camp, whose theme for 2020 is “Neuroscience: Perception or Reality,” will take place June 15-19. The camp is open to ninth- through 12th-graders as well as recent high school graduates. There is no cost to participate.

Neuroscience is the study of the structure and function of the brain and nervous system. Camp materials will be structured around the five senses and how they help humans interpret their surroundings. Participants will discover how signals from our senses of vision, touch, hearing, smell and taste are converted to a language the brain can understand.

Crystal Boudreaux, Ph.D., an assistant professor in WVSOM’s biomedical sciences department and director of the Just Say KNOW program, said one of the advantages to hosting the camp online is the opportunity to reach more participants. Unlike in previous years, there will be no limit on the number of attendees for the 2020 camp.

“Housing, travel and space are limited when we’ve hosted Just Say KNOW on campus,” Boudreaux said. “A disadvantage of a virtual event is not being able to have the campers immersed in the WVSOM community for a week, but we’re working on ideas to showcase the institution virtually.”

Boudreaux said the camp will include interactive activities, virtual lectures and games that promote a greater understanding of the human sensory network. Participants will receive a list of household materials to gather at the start of each day, and will also learn about topics outside of neuroscience, such as health care careers, osteopathic principles and practice, and WVSOM’s Rural Health Initiative. The week will wrap up with a showcase that will be recorded so attendees can share their accomplishments with family and friends.

Prospective attendees must email an essay detailing their interest in the virtual camp to Karen Wines, a WVSOM biomedical sciences instructor, at by May 29. The letter of recommendation from a teacher required in previous years has been waived.

Campers will need an Internet connection in order to participate. Instructions to access the activities will be provided to registrants after the May 29 application deadline.

WVSOM’s previous camps in the series include Just Say KNOW to Drugs!, Just Say KNOW to Infectious Diseases! and Just Say KNOW to Anatomy!

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