ExploreHope Staff Stories: Neuroscience Camp

Hello! My name is Naomi Gunneson and I will be a sophomore at Hope in the fall. I am studying neuroscience on the pre-med track with a Spanish minor. I hope to one day be a pediatrician and help kids have a positive experience in the doctor’s office. Having always loved learning about the human body and wanting to help my community, the pre-med track kind of chose me. 

When I found out about the ExploreHope camps, I was beyond excited for the opportunity to get involved. These camps combine two of my favorite things: science and working with kids! Getting to watch campers experience so much joy while learning in a stress-free environment has been incredible. ExploreHope camps have not only given me the chance to teach science to kids, but also opened doors to form closer relationships with professors, improve my public speaking skills, and have a blast every day!

One of the camps that I led was the neuroscience camp. I worked alongside Dr. Welsch, a neuroscience professor at Hope College, and Riley, another neuroscience major, to make this camp happen. In this camp we explored everything related to the brain. The first day the students got to dissect a sheep brain and cow eye, and look at a real human brain!

This was a super engaging activity as the campers could identify brain regions as they learned about their function. That’s something that is really cool about these camps: students get to delight in hands-on learning without the pressure of being graded. Some other activities students got to do included dissecting crayfish to determine the action potential of cells in their tails, work in an engineering lab to assess the difference between our response time to visual and auditory stimuli, and even set up their own EEG to read alpha brain waves! While a lot of these concepts are quite advanced, this camp provides an excellent opportunity for older students to get an introduction to the neuroscience field. I could tell that this camp truly sparked joy in all the campers and I can’t wait to see even more happy campers in the weeks to come!

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