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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    InnoWorks teams with Duke for summer program

    A UA program aimed at getting disadvantaged youth involved in science and engineering is working with Duke University to develop a curriculum that will be implemented this summer.

    The program, dubbed InnoWorks, is run entirely by college undergraduates and is backed by funding from various UA science and engineering departments and donors.

    The summer program is developing modules on aviation, antibiotics, buildings, genetics, evolution, power and film with Duke University, said Grace Hsieh, a biochemistry junior and director of UA InnoWorks.

    Hsieh said the summer camp is slated to run July 11-20, but they are still looking for volunteers.

    InnoWorks’ 25 volunteers act as mentors to the students during the summer program and plan events for the academic year.

    Last summer’s InnoWorks served a group of 25 middle-school students and will expand to 32 this summer. Hsieh said she wants to keep the number of participants small to provide quality time for the mentors and students to build relationships in a learning environment.

    InnoWorks is funded by $29,000 in pledges from the university and heads of local corporations and research groups, including Jim Gentile, president of Research Corporation, and Vicki Chandler, director of the BIO5 Institute.

    William L. Hwang, the founder of InnoWorks and a student at Duke University, said he launched the pilot program in 2004.

    The program was named “”InnoWorks”” as a reflection of the program’s structure – Innovative Workshops – which was well-received, Hwang said.

    After volunteering at a child care center and seeing the lack of educational opportunities many children had, Hsieh was inspired to start an InnoWorks chapter at the UA in March.

    Last summer, InnoWorks’ first UA camp was dubbed “”Making Sense of Senses.”” The theme took an interdisciplinary approach toward an overview of the physiology of the human senses, Hsieh said.

    The program was divided into sensory themes each day, including sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and prediction and estimation, Hsieh said.

    Each theme started with group activities, a component which will be used again this summer to drive the primary learning experiences. Small groups will later engage in competitive missions along with an undergraduate mentor.

    Hsieh said all missions attempt to inspire students to use and extend the knowledge gained from the group activities.

    “”InnoWorks has been a very rewarding experience for all of us,”” Hsieh said. “”After last year’s camp, many of the volunteers remarked that they had never had so much fun volunteering.””

    Hsieh said the program’s success depends on the volunteers and UA college deans, department heads and professors.

    For more information on the InnoWorks program, visit InnoWorks’ Web site at, or contact Hsieh at

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