We had 14 brilliant professors teaching us a wide range of subjects from Contract Law to History to Geology. On Monday, the first official day of camp, we studied French and Arabic cultures and languages before lunch, then went on a scavenger hunt for buildings and places on campus to help us learn our way around. Once we had all finished the scavenger hunt, we learned what our group project for the week would be and were placed into groups. The project was World War I Propaganda and there were 4 groups: Recruitment, Women in Propaganda, Peace, and Villainizing. I was in the villainizing group.
The next day began with "Uses of the Past," a workshop demonstrating the uses of history in our lives today. Then came the geology field trip to a nearby quarry, where we tried to identify different rock layers and their respective ages. Managing a quarry is far more complicated than any of us thought. Proper management of a quarry requires being familiar with, and abiding by, several binders full of rules and requirements. While there, we also learned about the incredible number of uses for the quarry's rocks and about the fossils we could find. We were allowed to search for fossils and take home anything that wasn't extremely rare, such as an entire skeleton. No one found any fossils rare enough that they were not allowed to keep it, but I found a Stromatoporoid sponge, which the Professor said was the best specimen he had ever seen of that kind! It's quite large (9" x 5"; about 10 pounds) and in excellent condition with a well-defined front and side view. Then we took a tour of the Geology labs and were able to see an electron microscope!
Wednesday was another awesome field trip: biology! We went to Crooked Lake and split into two groups: one would start with entomology and the other would start with ecology, then we would switch. I was in the first group and I successfully collected and identified (and later released) 22 species of insects and invertebrates - the most of any individual or group! Then we swapped classes with the second group to find a suitable tree to core and subsequently age. There were several microscopes available and we could look closely either at the cores to age the trees, or to take a good look at a dragonfly nymph and determine the species.
After lunch we had an interactive contract law class, in which we learned (1) how to make valid contracts and identify them, (2) whether a commercial advertisement is a contract, and (3) whether an agreement to go on a date is a contract and therefore legally binding. We were given a list of questions to answer, and I was happy to learn I provided the most legally accurate definitions.
On Thursday we learned about all of the groups and activities available at IPFW. We were also given some souvenirs from the Student Government representatives. Then we had a class about feminism and what it meant to us. The class also covered several current issues regarding people's rights including, but not limited to, women's rights. After lunch we began theater class, where we learned about the history of political theater and created plays based on our own experiences.
Friday we got to tour one of IPFW's incredible computer labs. There we learned about the capabilities of virtual reality, including Oculus Rift, and we were allowed to work with a few of the virtual reality programs set up by computer science students at IPFW. We also learned about all of the coding that went into the programs and the complexity of all of the equipment we were using. I wish we would have had the opportunity to do some coding, but I was the only student who had programming experience and an interest in engineering.
Then we went to a separate classroom for a political science class in which we discussed whether the United States had too much democracy, and the question led to a few spirited debates on the matter. After lunch we discussed a book which we had been given at the start of the week: All Quiet on the Western Front. Most of the other students were surprised by the reality of war. That night we presented our projects on World War I propaganda to our parents and families and had a scrumptious celebratory dinner.
I had a fantastic time, I learned an amazing amount of material, and I earned college credit toward a Purdue Honors Diploma! Many thanks to Ann Livschiz, head of the Honors Department, for arranging this incredible event!