Aya ‘21 and Musti Eyceoz ‘18 Host Science Summer Camp For Refugee Children in Jordan
By Aya Eyceoz ‘21
Aya ‘21 and Musti Eyceoz ‘18 ran a week long science camp for refugee children in Jordan. The ten sessions included experiments in chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, and engineering challenges. Aya reflects on the experience with the below essay.
My brother Musti and I often get the opportunity to visit my grandparents in Amman, Jordan. During our visits, we like to volunteer with various non-profit organizations that help refugees. We specifically ask to work with refugee children. Three years ago, we held a LEGO Camp and found it very rewarding, so this year we reached out to the non-profits that we usually work with and asked if they have a need we can try to meet. CARE, a global humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief to areas in crisis and long-term solutions to poverty around the world, welcomed us to their Community Center and Safe House. CARE responded that the children who frequent their community center used to enjoy a traveling science van that did hands on experiments with them, but due to lack of funding, they no longer get these visits. We thought that that would be the perfect opportunity for us to help and put our education to good use. We agreed to host a science camp for children from fourth grade through middle school, ten sessions, in the second week of July. We sought out help from our Bishop Guertin Science teachers, Mrs. Crivac and Mrs. Matthews. They both provided great resources, websites, and examples of experiments we could conduct. Being in the STEM club at BG also helped me understand the importance of applying scientific concepts to real life.
Together, my family and I decided that each day we would focus on one of the sciences: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Astronomy, and Engineering. We selected the experiments we thought would be most interesting for students and would introduce them to basic laws and concepts. We then created a list of supplies that we would need and purchased a few STEM sets, a microscope, augmented reality cards, and virtual reality goggles to use and donate to the center.
At the start of the camp, we had 12 students per session but the word quickly spread. The children were telling their cousins, neighbors, friends, and by the last day, we had fifty students! We experimented with non-Newtonian fluids, fluid dynamics, exothermic reactions, magnetism and mechanics, traveled through space with our virtual reality goggles, held a marshmallow challenge competition, and tested the teams’ creativity by building straw bridges.
Many of the students that attended expressed interest in the subject of science and had dreams of becoming medical professionals or engineers. They were very excited throughout the camp and really enjoyed being able to test their knowledge and learn new concepts through experiments. CARE had their own volunteers shadow my brother and I, and we provided them with a detailed curriculum. They will now take the same sets and travel to different organizations and community centers throughout Jordan and hold similar science camps throughout the summer.
It was eye opening and very rewarding for me to meet such determined students who want to take advantage of every opportunity offered to them. I personally formed great friendships and was inspired by their determination.
As the summer wraps up now, Musti is heading off to New York city for Columbia’s pre-orientation program to volunteer for a week with non-profits in his new community. I think volunteering and giving back is one of the best ways to get to know any community you visit or belong to.