BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education) is a two-week, residential camp for female high school students interested in scientific research. Students have the opportunity to see what research in science is all about ... and have fun in the process! This summer's program will run July 7-19, 2019.
BASE Camp is designed to engage high school, female students in hands-on, research-based experiences in the natural sciences and mathematics, in an effort to inform and excite students about the process of science.
BASE Camp is open to female students completing their sophomore or junior year of high school from underrepresented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Students must be a US citizen or permanent resident, be in good academic standing, and have an interest in science. Space is limited to 24 students. Priority may be given to first-time applicants.
The two-week overnight camp is free of charge to accepted students. All meals and lodging on campus are included. Funding for this program is generously provided by Boehringer Ingelheim and Alumni and Friends of Fairfield University.
Application deadline: April 26, 2019
Students are encouraged to apply early, as applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Application requirements include:
Acceptances will be notified by mail.
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
BASE Camp projects offer students an informative and fun week-long experience with actual scientific research during the first week of camp. Projects change every year, allowing students to choose from a variety of topics including biomedical science, medicinal chemistry, forensics, developmental biology, evolutionary biology, marine ecology, software engineering, mechanical engineering, behavioral psychology, neuroscience, biophysics, and applied mathematics.
Project #1: Exploring Gene Function in the Nematode C. Elegans
Anita Fernandez, PhD, Department of Biology
Our genes determine many aspects of our appearance and personality, so how do scientists study what individual genes do? In this project, students will use Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny nematode worm, to study the function of several genes that are also found in humans. By studying mutant worms that harbor genetic defects and observing what happens when gene function is disrupted, students will be able to infer the normal function of the gene.
Project #2: Your Inner Fish: Studying Human Bodies Through Other Vertebrates
Shannon Gerry, PhD, Department of Biology
Why do humans look the way that they do? In this project, students will study the structure and function of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, and mammals, in order to understand humans. Students will assemble skeletons, dissect muscles from preserved specimens, and observe a variety of organ systems to appreciate how we have evolved from fishes. Students must be comfortable working with preserved specimens.
Project #3: Exploring Forensic Scientific Methods
Amanda Harper-Leatherman, PhD, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Forensic science is the application of science to help solve crimes. In this project, students will explore scientific techniques that are used to analyze physical evidence encountered at crime scenes, including as plastics, fabrics, oils, powders, arson accelerants, fingerprints, and/or blood. Students will work with mock crime scene evidence, determine the best methods for analysis, design experiments, and make hypothesis to learn about the power and limitations of forensic studies.
Project #4: Characterizing Substrate and Enzyme Interactions
Jillian Smith-Carpenter, PhD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) is a Zn2+ metalloproteinase that degrades proteins, such as insulin and amyloid beta, that can form beta-structures. This project aims to understand the importance of individual amino acids in the IDE active site that affect substrate binding, specificity, and proteolysis of substrates. To accomplish this task, students will choose a “mutant” IDE to study by performing enzyme kinetic analysis and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Throughout the research project, students will learn some of the basic chemical rules that influence how enzymes and substrates interact.
Project #5: Sustainable Energy in Bridgeport, CT
Kraig Steffen, PhD, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Students will be introduced to the myriad of energy sources used to generate electricity in Bridgeport, CT, and on Fairfield University's campus. They will explore both existing and proposed projects, including the University's Co-Gen system, the Wheelabrator Trash to Energy plant in Black Rock, the Dominion Energy Fuel Cell plant, the Photovoltaic powerplant, and the under construction combined cycle powerplant being built by PSEG. Students will also work on individual and group projects investigating the basics of wind power, fuel cells, and photovoltaic cells; take field trips to the aforementioned power generating sites; and learn about alternative energy science through laboratory explorations.
Project #6: Measuring Stress: Effects of Therapy Dog Presence on Cortisol Secretion in Saliva
Brian Walker, PhD, Department of Biology
Therapy animals are becoming more and more common and are intended to help their owners deal with stress or signal the approach of a particular medical issue. In this project, students will work with Dakota, Fairfield University’s resident therapy dog, to determine if her presence lowers our bodies’ level of cortisol, a hormone that is secreted in large amounts when we are stressed. Using a technique called ELISA, we will measure the amount of cortisol found in small samples of our saliva to determine if Dakota should be earning extra dog treats for doing a good job in relieving stress.
When you become a BASE Camp participant, you have access to its resources for years to come! This page provides you with important information about college application and careers in science.
Applying to college can be a tricky task. As part of the BASE Camp agenda, students attend college admission sessions tailored to pursuing careers in the STEM and healthcare fields. Below are some helpful resources.
Below is contact information of the health and science professionals who came to speak to BASE Campers along with scientific career web resources.
Student Presentations (2016)
Check out the 2016 cohort's final project presentations
Student Presentations (2013)
Check out the 2013 cohort's final project presentations
Student Presentations (2012)