Over the summer, many kids attend day camps and sports camps to stay busy and supervised while their parents are at work. However, select students at East Chicago and Hammond middle schools had the opportunity to attend a very different kind of camp courtesy of Purdue University Calumet’s Educational Talent Search program (ETS).


Each summer since 2011, the ETS program at Purdue Calumet has held a camp called Project EXCEL S-STEAM Camp. This year, the camp ran from July 13-24 and was free to ETS students entering grades 6, 7 and 8.


The camp offers the students workshops and activities in the areas of sports science, technology, engineering, arts and math in addition to the college, career, and life skills enrichment programs. This year, campers also had the opportunity to take trips to the Museum of Science and Industry and a White Sox game. The mission of the camp is to increase awareness of post-secondary educational and career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in a way that is fun and beneficial to the students.


“I love the drama class,” said camper Angelina Tuazon. “The instructor brings everyone together and we are able to step out of our comfort zone.”


The ETS program targets program participants primarily from schools in East Chicago, Hammond and Lake Ridge. Selected participants are students between the ages of 11 and 19 who demonstrate financial need as well as potential for post-secondary success. The program offers individual education plans for each student, tutoring and college preparation opportunities and various activities and workshops for both students and parents.


“The mission of Project EXCEL is to enable targeted individuals an opportunity to enhance their overall quality of life by providing comprehensive involvement in academic and career related services focused around the STEM disciplines,” explained ETS program director Jimmie Sanders.


The program organizes a collaboration of efforts by parents, teachers and counselors to help ensure the success of ETS students. Partners and sponsors of the program also include the U.S. Department of Education, Foundations of East Chicago, the School City of Hammond and the School City of East Chicago. For more information on the ETS program or the Project EXCEL S-STEAM Camp, visit www.purduecal.edu/talent.