Other than the occasional feeling of being homesick, Amber Curtis of Bucklin said the Kansas
Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) program was without a doubt worth it.


Other than the occasional feeling of being homesick, Amber Curtis of Bucklin said the Kansas
Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS) program was without a doubt worth it.

For the past five years, The KAMS program has selected high school students from all over
Kansas who are getting ready to enter their junior year and has offered them the opportunity to
excel academically.

Through the program, the selected students are immersed in the college life. They have the
opportunity to live on campus and be a part of activities and clubs at the Fort Hays University
(FHSU) campus as they complete their junior and senior years while simultaneously accruing
college credits.

However, being an early college student doesn't come without hard work and its fair share of
challenges, as Amber can attest. But like her, the average student who takes an interest in the
program is looking to be academically challenged and the program will do just that.

"My first year in the program, being away from home was new and I did get homesick a little bit,"
Amber said. "It was definitely challenging for me, but I really enjoyed my classes like chemistry
and English comp. Teachers really made me enjoy writing. While my first year wasn't terribly
hard, it wasn't necessarily easy. I've never studied so hard in my life."

Amber said her second year in the program was more difficult, challenging her more — her
Physics class more specifically — but the social aspects of college life became easier.

"The second year, I met a lot more students," She said. "I started to get more involved, I
learned about time management and how to study better."

But like any high school student, transitioning from being a high school student to a college
student can be difficult. Making the transition early, as Amber did, was especially tough when
she had to leave behind friends and her love of sports.

"One of the things that hit me hard was, in high school, I was in sports constantly," She said. "I
didn't have time to do sports as a high school student in a college setting, and as far as the
friends, I learned that the friends that matter and care about you will make time to talk to you."

Amber said that while giving up activities was hard, the experience was definitely worth it. "I
have all these college credits out of the way and I made a lot of new friends."

Upon graduating high school and the KAMS program earlier this year, Amber who had her mind
set on attending Kansas State University, returned to FHSU as a student, a decision the KAMS
influenced. She said while there she really enjoyed the physics and chemistry programs, the
staff, and the new friendships she had formed. She has also picked up sports again; Amber is
currently on the FHSU track team.

KAMS information tour of state

According to a press release from FHSU, a letter from KAMS Director Ron Keller recently went
out to all Kansas high school sophomores, inviting them to attend one of seven informational
sessions scheduled for October, November and December.

Students who complete KAMS receive a diploma from their high school and receive a minimum
of 68 hours of college credit from FHSU. Tuition, fees and books for 68 credit hours at KAMS
are free for students attending a Kansas public high school.

"I believe this program is something that spurs [student] interest in education well beyond a
bachelor's degree. We've had a lot of students earning fellowship and internships at major
universities because of the hours they took, they're going to have dual degrees. They are highly
motivated individuals." Keller said.

The informational sessions are free and students who are beginning seventh grade through
sophomore year in high school are encouraged to attend. Space is limited, the academy asks
that parents RSVP by going to the website, www.fhsu.edu/kams/ or by calling (785) 628-4690.

Seven sessions have been scheduled:

Hays, 6 p.m., Oct. 29
Fort Hays State University
Memorial Union, Trails Room
600 Park St.

Manhattan, 6 p.m., Nov. 4
Manhattan Public Library
629 Poyntz Ave.

Wichita, 6 p.m., Nov. 7
Alford Branch
3447 S. Meridian

Hutchinson, 6 p.m., Nov. 21
Hutchinson Public Library
901 N. Main

Liberal, 6 p.m., Nov. 26
Liberal Public Library
519 N. Kansas

Bonner Springs, 6:15 p.m., Dec. 2
Bonner Springs Public Library
201 N. Nettleton Ave.

 

Topeka, 6 p.m., Dec. 3
Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library
1515 S.W. 10th Ave.