Rice Tapia Camps Inspire Students in STEM
Tapia Camps are residential experiences at Rice University that cover topics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) with an emphasis on communication and equity. Rising 8th-12th graders execute projects designed by research faculty.
The goal of the Tapia Camps is to build and support the STEM pipeline of students. The award-winning Tapia Camps engage middle and high school students in various fields of STEM and teach them teamwork and communication skills as they experience college life on the Rice University campus. Rice is one of the nation’s foremost research institutions, consistently ranked in the top 20 universities in the United States. Distinguished, research-active faculty develops the camp curriculum, and the instructors are Rice undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, campers interact with faculty, industry leaders, and the 2011 National Medal of Science recipient, Rice Professor Richard Tapia, who inspires students to follow their passions in STEM.
Students across the state and worldwide attend the six-day residential camps and solve challenging hands-on problems. Another important aspect is the development of communication skills that the students use to explain the phenomena behind real-life STEM problems. To culminate the experience, students showcase their learning skills through visual and oral presentations as part of a competition. One past student said the camp “took away all hesitations about joining a STEM field, was motivating and challenging, and offered engaging experiences and critical thinking benefits.”
“There’s so much room for creativity in these areas, and it’s so important in the professional world to be able to communicate what you discover,” said Paul Hand, Tapia Camp Director and Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Northeastern University.
“Our goal is to give these students the best resources and opportunities to prepare them for college while simultaneously inspiring them to pursue a STEM career.” Campers explore different interests while completing math, engineering, physics, and computer science projects.
Moreover, campers learned equity concerns that modern scientists must consider as they unravel real-world problems in the camp curriculum. “We need to train future leaders, who can think critically about the relationships of algorithms, equity, and society,” said Professor Tapia, about the role of the Tapia Camp project in computer science.
Since 2015, the camps have grown from 40 participants to more than 1,600 students. Plans for 2023 include four weeks of Tapia Camps for July 2-7, July 9-14, July 16-21, and July 23-28. The Tapia Camps are run by the Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity in Education and abide by all rules and safety regulations for K12 summer programs set by Rice University.
To learn more about Tapia Camps and how to register, please go
Rice University Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity in Education