September 2018

The A&M Summer of SMaRT STEM! teaser image
Great opportunities for true learning are hard to come by, said someone who has never been to Texas A&M university. Here at our university the learning seems to be in the air. Every time I open my email there is something new going on, an invite to participate in a study about a thing that I didn’t even know existed let alone being studied. Or a notification about an international field trip to some faraway place whose name made me bring out the old family atlas. Yes, I still have a paper atlas, it is think and bulky and heavy, but it is just amazing to flip through the pages and to discover something new. Getting back to the point, learning in the air, well for someone like me who didn’t have many friends growing up in Pakistan and who spent his idle time watching episodes of NOVA and Cosmos on the public television channel (the only channel available) free opportunities for learning are gift and when those opportunities become paid ones, well then they are a gift from God.

This summer I was fortunate enough to participate in not one but two paid opportunities to learn. They were jobs where I was supposed to teach but to me ‘teach’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘learn’. I was blessed to be part of two camps at Texas A&M university this summer. The STEM camp organized by the Aggie STEM center and the SMaRT camp at the Department of Mathematics.

Both camps were great opportunities for the students to engage and learn. But more importantly they allowed the participating students to explore. Readers can find details about the camps and what went on in both camps online but here I wanted to share my experience within the context of both camps not just as an instructor and counselor but as a student as well. So, here are my takeaways neatly organized in a tabular form.
  Summer STEM Camp SMaRT Camp
Name Summer Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Camp Summer Mathematics Research Training High School Camp
Focus of camp Introduction to the objects, language, and people in STEM fields Proof writing in mathematics
Mode of instruction Guided and free exploration Direct instruction, guided and individual practice
Learning outcomes Familiarity with STEM objects and sense of ease about application of science and mathematics in real life Familiarity and easiness with mathematical proof writing
Support structure University faculty, instructors, licensed teachers, and camp counselors University faculty, and grad/undergrad counselors
Aamir Fidai
Aamir is a Ph.D. student in the College of Education and Human Development

Related Content

Explore Grad Aggieland


Texas A&M Graduate Students Attend Science and Public Policy Workshop in Washington, D.C.  

Four Texas A&M doctoral students were selected to travel to the nation’s capital for a professional development workshop on science and public policy. Serina DeSalvio (Genetics & Genomics), Dallas Freitas (Chemistry), Alaya Keane (Ecology & Conservation Biology) and Molly McClung (Biomedical Sciences) attended the Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) annually-held event, hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, from April 14-17.   

View All News

The grad school arc

If you’re just starting your Ph.D., especially in a STEM field, Serina talks in her latest post about the differences between each year of a 5-year Ph. D. program.

View All Blogs
Defense Announcement

Deep Learning for Molecular Geometry and Property Analysis

View All Defense