High School FAQ

Engaging and Empirical Education

High School STEM camps are designed for students in grades 9-12 as they learn practical applications of STEM principles and expand their understanding of career options in STEM professions.

Many of your questions will be answered below, but let us know if you have more.

Frequently Asked Questions

High School
1. Who designs the camp curriculum?

Our goal is to ensure the highest quality learning experiences for our students.

We conducted a national search for curriculum that would be current and engaging, meet national and state standards, and would challenge our students. We selected specific learning experiences from among those developed by Federally-funded university experts and activities created by national professional organizations and societies.

2. Who teaches the camps?

Teaching at summer camp is a highly sought after opportunity so we can be very selective in hiring our teachers. We seek teachers who have a passion for and experience in teaching hands-on science and engineering. They must also have a track record of success in managing a diverse classroom. 100% of our teachers have current teaching credentials in the State of Washington. Over 80% of our teachers have at least one advanced degree. All have passed background investigations.

3. What is the student to teacher ratio?

There is typically one certified teacher and one camp counselor for every 24-30 campers.

4. How is the camp staff selected?
  • Teachers: First, we promote any teaching position openings within public and private schools, colleges and universities in our region. Then, we put our potential teachers through a two-step screening process. Some of our requirements are STEM teaching experience, skills in problem-based learning, and enthusiasm for hands-on learning. In addition, once individuals are background and reference checked, instructors are required participate in curriculum and safety training.
  • Counselors: Our Camp Counselors are adult students at WSU Tri-Cities. All counselors have passed a background investigation and are required to participate in curriculum and safety training.
5. What is the Student Information Packet?

The Student Information Packet is the final and most critical part of the registration process. Once completed, it will contain important information that will help our staff coordinate the best possible experience at camp for the student. Because we value privacy and some information we ask for is confidential, the Student Information Packet will only be shared with WSU staff on a “need to know” basis.

Please do not email or upload the Student Information Packet online. 

Instructions for downloading, completing, and submitting the Student Information Packet may be found here. We must have one Student Information Packet per student attending any camp(s) mailed to us in order to reserve space for them. We are unable to permit students to participate in camp if we do not receive it.

6. Are lunch and snacks provided?

Yes, lunch will be provided each day of every camp. A healthy snack (including water) will also be available during a morning and afternoon break time. Lunch and snacks are included in the cost of the camp.

Students are encouraged to bring a water bottle clearly labeled with their name; water is the only beverage allowed in the classrooms and only in transparent bottles. Food is not allowed in the classrooms and both food and beverages are not allowed in the computer laboratory.

We will consider if a student has special dietary needs during lunch as questions related to food allergies and intolerances are included on the first page of the Student Information Packet.

Students are welcome to bring their own lunch marked with the their name. Unfortunately, we do not have refrigerated storage for use by students but a microwave is available for student use.

Lunch breaks are 30 minutes and snack breaks are 15 minutes long.

7. What if a student will be bringing their own lunch and snacks?

There is an option for parents of students bringing their own lunch and snacks each day of camp to receive a $30 registration discount. Please contact the Program Coordinator by email at STEMcamp@tricity.wsu.edu or phone at (509) 372-7123 to make this arrangement prior to registering your student.

Under this arrangement, students will be unable to receive a meal ticket for the lunch line and will not be given a snack pack during break times.

Unfortunately, we do not have refrigerated storage for use by students, but a microwave is available for student use.

8. What do students need to bring to camp?

All supplies and materials students will need for camp will be provided for them. If there will be any exception to this, you will be notified by email.

Students are allowed to bring a backpack or sturdy bag, clear water bottle, a hat, and sunscreen (all marked with your family name). Only clear water bottles are allowed in the classroom. Other beverages and beverage containers are allowed in lunch bags for drinking during the lunch period.

Students should wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes that are appropriate for active and sometimes messy camp activities. Short shorts, low necklines, dresses, open-toed sandals and flip-flops are not appropriate for camp participation.

Note that we are not responsible for the damage or loss of any personal item.

9. What is the policy for personal electronic mobile devices?

In today’s connected world, teens are accustomed to having a smartphone in their possession at all times. While this has its advantages for both parents and students, there are limitless possibilities for what may occur while a student is using their smartphone at camp. We allow students to bring personal electronic mobile devices such as a smartphone and tablet to camp, however, we also enforce a strict policy surrounding appropriate use for the protection and safety of all students.

Students will not be allowed to display their phone or other mobile devices during the times camp is in session, usually while in the classroom and labs. This policy prevents students from being distracted during camp instruction and allows them to concentrate on their projects. Students should keep their devices in their pocket, either on silent mode or turned off. If the device becomes a distraction or if this policy is not being followed, it may be necessary for camp staff to confiscate the device for the student to claim at the end of the day.

Students will be allowed to use their devices during break times and lunch time. It is important to remember that if students are posting to social media and include any other persons in their post, they should always ask for that person’s permission, even if they are friends.

WSU Tri-Cities Summer STEM Camps is not responsible for the damage or loss of any personal electronic mobile device.

10. What should students wear?

It is important that students are comfortable so they can concentrate on participating. To ensure safety, we require that all students wear closed toe shoes. Students with open-toed shoes may be asked to not participate in camp activities until they make arrangements for other footwear to be delivered to camp and are able to change into closed-toed shoes.

We recommend casual clothes such as t-shirts, jeans or shorts. Short shorts or skirts and low necklines are not appropriate for camp participation. A student, who is not dressed in a safe or appropriate manner for camp activities, may be asked to go home to change clothes or make arrangements for other clothes to be delivered to camp for their use.

11. Do you provide transportation?

WSU Tri-Cities does not provide transportation to or from camp. It is the responsibility of students and parents to coordinate transportation each day.

12. Could students use public transportation (Ben-Franklin Transit)?

Ben Franklin Transit serves the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Ben Franklin Transit’s bus operators are trained to assist riders and assure they arrive at their destination.

A covered bus stop is located on Sprout Road adjacent to the WSU Tri-Cities campus and Hanford High School. The stop is identified with a blue, gold, and white sign with the Transit logo and indicates Route 26.

Please check with Benton-Franklin Transit to verify routes and times.

For information call 509-735-5100 or visit www.bft.org.

13. Do the students leave the camp site?

Student safety is our number one priority. For this reason, students are not allowed to leave the campus during camp hours. No off-campus field trips are associated with these camps.

14. How are restroom breaks conducted?

Restroom use is encouraged at the morning and afternoon breaks and at lunch. Should a student need to use the restroom at any other time, precautions are taken to ensure student security.

15. What happens if a student is involved in a disciplinary issue?

We reserve the right to remove from camp any student who is disruptive. Inappropriate language and/or behavior will not be tolerated. If a student is unable to correct his/her behavior, we may call the parent/guardian to pick up the student before the end of the camp day. Any student who persists in disruptive behavior may be dismissed from camp without any refund of fees.

16. What happens if a student is late for the start of camp?

If this should occur, the student should seek out a camp staff member to check-in and catch up. Students may miss important instructions so please make every attempt to be prompt each day.

17. What happens if a student misses a day of camp?

Missing a day of camp means that the student will miss an important part of the learning process which may not be able to be “made-up.” For projects that are team based, the student’s team will proceed with work.

18. Can students leave the camp during the day?

Students are not allowed to leave the campus during camp hours. If a student has a medical or other appointment that occurs during the camp day, parents/guardians should send a written note authorizing the student’s release from camp for that date and time.

19. What if a student’s camp week needs to be rescheduled?

Unfortunately, we only offer one week of two different camps. Changes between camps are possible only on a space available basis. For an additional fee and based on space available, we can switch your reservation to another camp.

  • Notification of 30 days or more prior to the start of the originally scheduled camp: A $40 change fee per camp applies if changing camps at least 30 days prior to the start date of the originally-scheduled camp.
  • Notification of less than 30 days prior to the start of the originally scheduled camp:If you notify us less than 30 days prior to the start date of the originally scheduled camp, a $50 change fee per camp applies.

Please contact our Program Coordinator at STEMcamp@tricity.wsu.edu or by phone at 509-372-7123 to address any registration issues.

20. What if a student’s camp week needs to be cancelled?

A $125 fee per student per camp will be charged if you cancel a camp 30 or more days before the start date.

No refund will be given if you cancel less than 30 days prior to the start date.

Please contact our Program Coordinator at STEMcamp@tricity.wsu.edu or by phone at 509-372-7123 to address any registration issues.

21. What if a student has special needs?

Please indicate these needs in the Student Information Packet. If a student has special needs, some accommodations may be available so please let us know at least four weeks prior to the first class. To further address these accommodations, please contact us by email at STEMcamp@tricity.wsu.edu or give us a call at 509-372-7123.

22. Will WSU staff administer the medication a student needs during the day?

We are unable to administer medication to students. If a student requires a dosage during camp hours, please make appropriate arrangements.

23. What if a student gets injured or ill while at camp?

The Lead Teacher will document any situation that results in an injury and will contact the parent/guardian as needed or, in an emergency, will contact 911 and then contact the parent/guardian.

24. Will I be able to contact my student if there is an emergency?

If there is an emergency situation and the parent must contact their student at camp they can call our Camp Registrar at 509-372-7123 or the campus general information line at 509-372-7000.

25. Is the camp staff trained in safety procedures?

All of our teachers and counselors have received safety training from WSU. The campus also has an emergency response plan and an on-site Safety Manager.

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