Contact: Emily Springer, Communication Manager, Communication and Information Technology, University Outreach and Engagement,

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections

Photo courtesy of Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections

EAST LANSING, MI — The Department of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) within MSU’s Office of University Outreach and Engagement is collaborating with MSU’s Department of Anthropology to offer a unique experience for a limited number of gifted students in Grades 7-10 this summer.

This collaborative effort offers qualifying students a one-week program that invites learners to dig into the discovery of an observatory on campus that is estimated to have been built more than 140 years ago.

“The opportunity to participate in archaeological exploration on campus is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Kwesi Brookins, vice provost for University Outreach and Engagement. “We’re thrilled to be collaborating with university partners to advance students’ understanding of MSU’s history and geography.”

The program, Anthropology, Archaeology, and Cartography: Hundreds of Years in the Making, will take students back to the 1880s when the observatory was first built by Rolla Carpenter and students who took his civil engineering courses at MSU.

Program participants will take a hands-on learning approach by collecting and then analyzing artifacts like pencils, glass bottles, or ceramics that may have been left behind by students hundreds of years ago.

“Having students from majors outside anthropology gives us a different perspective on what we’re finding in the ground,” said Stacey Camp, director of MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program and associate professor of anthropology. “We feel really lucky to have a wide variety of knowledge on our dig sites.”

Students will learn about past cultures, including how people adapted to their environments and navigated geographical barriers, weather patterns, and more. They will also discuss the use of maps and their significance in helping people traverse through the area.

The program will run June 17-21 and is open to anyone who meets eligibility standards through GATE’s Intensive Studies for Gifted and Talented (IS4GT) program.

Applications for the program are due by May 10, 2024. A virtual information session will be held on Sunday, April 7 from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Registration for the information session is required by Wednesday, April 3, 2024, and can be completed on the GATE website.

GATE programs aim to provide educational experiences that allow gifted students to develop intellectually, cultivate social relationships, and expand their understanding of the world.