New Summer Science Academy at Northwestern to explore benefits of human-animal interaction

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New Summer Science Academy at Northwestern to explore benefits of human-animal interaction

January 30, 2012

Oklahoma students who will be in the 9th or 10th grades in the fall of 2012 are encouraged to apply by April 13 for a new science academy that will take place this summer at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva.

Up to 30 students will be selected to attend “Exploring the Benefits of Human-Animal Interaction” June 10-16 on the Alva campus for free thanks to a two-year grant recently approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Regents.

Students will learn basic concepts of human-animal interaction; the benefits of animals in human psychological, physical and emotional health; the role of wildlife on human health, research design and statistical concepts; data collection; observational research; computer use; and presentation. Students also will learn more about careers in math and science, and foster a desire to attend college and pursue such careers. This academy's goal is to enhance students’ mathematical and scientific reasoning abilities.

During this one-week residential academy, students will participate in activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sessions will consist of lecture and computer skill acquisition. Most of the students’ time will be spent putting their knowledge into action through hands-on learning experiences, including observational research, a visit to the Alabaster Caverns State Park and Great Salt Plains Lake and State Park, animal-assisted therapy activities, health care activities, and testing hypotheses about the benefits of animals on human health.

Other activities will include group challenges, community involvement and team building events. Students will participate in animal-assisted activities with young children through senior adults.

Students will stay in Northwestern’s campus housing with 24-hour supervision by a graduate student and will be provided three meals a day.

Questions should be directed to Dr. Sherril Stone, the academy's director and associate professor of psychology at Northwestern, at or (580) 213-3119 in Enid, or Dr. Karen Linstrum, the academy’s co-director and assistant professor of psychology at Northwestern, at or (580) 327-8148 in Alva.

Stone said the selection process is competitive, and all students will be notified by email of their status by April 30. For students without an email address, please provide a phone number. All students (including Alva residents) must stay in university housing as there will be no commuter options.

The application form is a Word document and may be found online at Besides the application form, students will need to include a one page, typed statement on why they want to attend this academy, as well as a teacher letter of recommendation, preferably from a math or science teacher, but any teacher will be fine. All items may be emailed to Stone or printed out and mailed to her at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Psychology Department, 2929 E. Randolph, Enid, OK 73701.