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Opportunities for Students of All Ages

Every kid spends most of their year waiting for the blessed freedom of summer. And every working parent wonders what to do with those children once those months roll around.

Gregory Ingalls, Brian Dubose and Patrick Lamont of Electronic Arts speak to students about working in the video game design industry.

LSU offers a number of options for young learners from pre-kindergarten to high school through LSU Continuing Education's Summer CampUs. The 2011 Summer CampUs series offers more than 50 exciting and educational programs, including residential camps, pre-k sessions, technology and specialty courses and honors classes for high school credit.

For students entering pre-k through 8th grade, "Tiger Challenge" includes several fun and engaging courses that are divided by grade level. From a basic pre-k course to specialty courses like "Amazing Chemistry Collisions," "Real Life CSI," and "Travelin' the U.S.A.," "Tiger Challenge" offers a fun, creative outlet for youngsters to supplement their school work and continue to reinforce lessons before the fall. "Tiger Challenge" also offers half-day and full-day sessions for added flexibility.

"I'm going to be a chef!" said one of the youngsters at the "Off to Work We Geaux" camp for first and second graders, in which students learn about various professions. All of the "Tiger Challenge" courses are taught by full-time teachers, many of which work at the University Lab School.

For older kids, there are camps like "Junior NJNEER," which doesn't just work with kids on some basic physical science properties, but also teaches them to form their own engineering companies for projects, such as building scale bridges. The students have to keep a ledger of the materials they purchase from a company store to build their bridges, which have to support at least three pounds. They even have to maintain a budget.

"At first I didn't think this would be fun, but it really is!" said Andrew Graham, a 10-year-old participant in "Junior NJNEER." Trisha Fos, a third grade teacher at the University Lab School, designed her courses to stress a love for learning and developing life skills. "You can see as the kids grow that they learn to wait and process things in their head before they ask questions," Fos said. "I want them to try and learn to think of things on their own."

High school students build a "Body In A Box" during the Architecture Discovery Workshop. LSU School of Architecture partnered with LSU Continuing Education to hold the annual residential camp.

For teenagers, there are the one-week Tiger U camps, which provide a residential experience led by university faculty. In June, students were able to explore architecture as a career through the "Architecture Discovery Workshop." Tiger U also holds courses that can help with core subjects, provide honors credits or work with various technologies and specialties.

The video game design camp for high school students even included visits from representatives of industry behemoth Electronic Arts.

"The students in this camp use the same coding language as professional designers," said Alex Cook, course instructor. "Teenagers play video games all the time, but it never really occurs to them how much time and effort is spent creating and testing these games."

Students in the camp had the opportunity to ask questions about working in video game design and the skills that are required to be successful in the industry.

"You have to be extremely committed and have a passion at all levels of video game design," said Patrick Lamont, senior talent acquisition specialist of Electronic Arts in Baton Rouge. "Also, when designing games you want to have an open mind because what you design needs to be playable and fun for many people."

Tiger U also offers the challenging High School Honors Credit program. Students can earn honors high school credit in six weeks in math or science.

Aimee Phebus, a science teacher at St. Joseph's Academy in Baton Rouge, teaches one of the honors biology courses for students transitioning to high school.

"For many of these kids, it's not so much their first time around a microscope, but their first time having to really respect one," she said. "They get to learn what a high school science teacher is going to expect from them, and that can help with their adjustment." Suvy Qin, a 14-year old who will start Baton Rouge Magnet High School in the fall, said the honors credit course is the last class with a number of her classmates from Glasgow Middle School who will be attending different high schools.

"This is very fast paced, but it's fun," said Qin, noting that the credits she's earning will allow her to skip her first biology course in high school.

For registration information or to receive a copy of the 2011 Summer CampUs at LSU catalog, visit www.outreach.lsu.edu/precollege or call 225-578-2500. Summer CampUs at LSU runs until the end of July and spots are still available in several camps and courses. People can also follow LSU Pre-College Programs on Facebook to see what is happening during this year's Summer CampUs at LSU.

LSU Continuing Education acts as a leading university provider of educational outreach and engagement to help people achieve their goals and improve their quality of life, their organizations and their communities. Visit www.outreach.lsu.edu for more information. Follow LSU Continuing Education on Twitter and Facebook.