June 19, 2018 9:06 AM

Students engage with food science during Millikin camp

Millikin University and Decatur Public Schools have partnered for another summer to present SMASH camp, which stands for Students @ Millikin Academic Summer Holiday. The 2018 camp, featuring 54 middle school students, is broken down into two two-week sessions in June, with the first session covering the topic of food science and the second session focusing on the topic of survival.

As part their food science session, the students took part in a s'mores war competition on June 14. The students roasted marshmallows on a grill outside of Kirkland Fine Arts Center and were required to use traditional graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. They also had an option to request up to three additional foods and were given one additional mystery item. The students were given three minutes to create their s'mores.

After their three-minute window, the students had to take their plate to a guest judge inside Kirkland Fine Arts Center to explain their item. The students were scored on a 10-point scale in five different categories: use of required items, originality, taste appeal, visual presentation and oral presentation.

The judges were Dr. Christie Magoulias, director of the School of Education at Millikin; Dr. Sam Galewsky, associate professor of biology at Millikin; Chris Ballard, director of public safety at Millikin; and Deb Harper, SMASH camp coordinator.

During the camp Dr. Sam Galewsky demonstrated the science of food with various experiments. The campers learned about calories, tastes and chemical reactions with yeast and carbon dioxide.

"I love to cook," Dr. Galewsky said in a recent interview with the Herald & Review. "Over the years, I've realized I can teach biochemistry under the guise of talking about food."

SMASH camp is a gifted enrichment program with an emphasis on social interactions and maneuvering through school life. Students in the Senior SMASH camp are in grades six through nine. The Junior SMASH camp is for grades two through five.

Dr. Christie Magoulias helped organize SMASH with the public school teachers and Millikin faculty. "It is a perfect home with the School of Education," Dr. Magoulias said. "The planning and ideas for the summer camp begin in January, with previous camps having focused on repurposing, reality, art, business and energy. The model has to change and evolve as we are working with kids and new ideas come about. It always grows and changes in positive ways."

SMASH Camp
Photo courtesy of the Herald & Review