The Hartwell Foundation


Duke Summer Science Camp for Teens

Memphis, TN, May 26, 2010 -- To address the growing national concern that fewer high school graduates are interested in science and technology careers, The Hartwell Foundation officially announced that it will fund Duke University $1.3 million over three years to establish a summer science camp for teens in grades 8, 9, and 10.

The Duke Science Camp, Summer Science Sleuths, is structured to provide a summer experience that will be fun and gets kids to become engaged in science. The Camp will seek to make a life-changing difference early in the lives of young campers to spark a desire to follow an academic pathway that will lead to a lifelong involvement in science.

The camp will reside on the Duke University campus in Durham, NC, and will operate as a two week summertime program that will leverage core resources of the University, the Medical Center, and the diverse technical skills of its faculty, including Hartwell Fellows and Hartwell Investigators. The Science Camp will provide a nurturing environment where girls and boys can connect with peers to share learning experiences in science. Camp activities will be designed to create excitement for science by making it fun --- providing attendees with a learning experience that will not only keep them engaged and eager to return the following summer, but will also show them the path to choosing a high school curriculum appropriate for a career in science.

The Science Camp plans to accept its first class of twenty rising 8th graders (completed grade 7) in June, 2011. The Camp plans to take another twenty rising or returning 9th graders in 2012 and another twenty rising or returning 10th graders (for a total of 60 campers) in 2013. Eligible students will be selected based on their demonstrated curiosity and intelligence, their apparent ambivalence to a science career while having the potential to become engaged in science, and a teacher’s recommendation describing why the Summer Science Camp would make a difference for the candidate. Returning campers will be given priority. All selected campers will receive full scholarships to participate in the camp.

Program elements of the Science Camp will emphasize hands-on and inquiry-based teaching, teamwork, problem-solving and fun; where science concepts are embedded in science-related activities like solving a Science Mystery: a biomedical problem.

"We want to give teens a ‘wow’ experience that we hope makes them say ‘this is for me!’" said Christine Adamczyk, Director of the Science Camp program and Executive Director of the Duke Center for Science Education . "This is not an academic camp. It will be fun, and the fun will be rooted in science."

"The primary mission of Summer Science Sleuths is to inspire American middle school students who have scholastic potential and a natural curiosity, but are not yet on a path to choosing a science career," said Frederick Dombrose, Ph.D., President of the Hartwell Foundation.

The Duke Center for Science Education is dedicated to fostering collaboration among Duke faculty, students and staff interested in educating students from kindergarten to graduate school. The center promotes interdisciplinary science education research, service learning, civic engagement, and community outreach in science. 

The primary mission of The Hartwell Foundation, located in Memphis, Tenn., is to inspire innovation and achievement by granting awards for cutting-edge biomedical research that has the potential to benefit children of the United States. The gift to the Duke Center for Science Education is The Hartwell Foundation’s first initiative in supporting a science education program.

For more information about the Summer Science Camp, write




Christine Adamczyk, Director of the Duke Summer Science Camp (foreground) and Rochelle D. Schwartz-Bloom, Ph.D., Director of the Duke Center for Science Education

2010 Hartwell Fellow Leah Johnson, Ph.D., with mentor Gabriel P. Lopez, Ph.D., Duke University

2009 Hartwell Fellow Carlos Goller, Ph.D., with mentor (R) Patrick C. Seed, MD, Ph.D., Duke University


2008 Hartwell Fellow Louise Rogg, Ph.D., with mentor William Steinbach, MD, Duke University