High Schoolers Fight Zombie Attack at Fontbonne STEM Camp

Fontbonne University boosts interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through "Zombie Camp" for area high schoolers.

This summer, 15 high school students from Hazelwood School District will hold off a zombie apocalypse using the math, science and technology lessons they learn at a Fontbonne University summer camp.

The one-week "Zombie Camp" will focus on epidemiology, the study of the spread of disease, which combines biology, mathematical modeling and computer simulation. A zombie attack will serve as the starting point of their study, and as students attempt to find the cause of the zombie transformations, full-time faculty from Fontbonne's biological and physical sciences department will guide them in their journey.

"Campers learn all about a zombie outbreak," explained Shannon Rapp, camp director. "We're using mathematical models to describe how an infection would spread through a population."

Fontbonne hopes to inspire budding STEM students through a pop culture lens. According to a recent Brookings Institution report, it is currently more difficult to fill STEM job openings than openings in other fields because of a lack of skills — something the university hopes to improve through a variety of STEM programs.

"This is a great way to showcase STEM curriculum in a way that is engaging for our students," said Christina Hughes, science curriculum coordinator for Hazelwood School District. "Plus our partnership with Fontbonne allows HSD students to get the experience of being on a college campus. It's a win-win for everyone!"

Assisted also by Fontbonne math and science students, campers will follow the spread of diseases through the modeling and analyzing of data and hands-on activities in the university's laboratories. The camp runs from July 21st through July 25th, and takes place on Fontbonne's Clayton campus.

Fontbonne University is a Catholic coeducational institution of higher education offering liberal arts and professional programs, as well as evening and online formats for busy adults. Fontbonne was founded in 1923 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.