ECU FoodMASTER Camp instills a love for food, science, and math

By Nicole Wood
College of Human Ecology

Twenty-eight middle grade students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pitt County will receive hands-on math and science experience through ECU’s FoodMASTER Summer Science Camp in June (6/24-28) and July (7/8-12).

The students will cook and garden under the direction of hospitality leadership and

Dr. Melani Duffrin

Dr. Melani Duffrin

nutrition science faculty and students. Students will spend the week learning the science and math concepts involved in cooking, gardening, and nutrition.  By the end of the week they have will have reviewed concepts in the fields of biology, chemistry, horticulture, nutrition science and math all while having fun in the kitchen and garden.

FoodMASTER Summer Science Camp partners with Boys and Girls Club; A Time for Science, the nature and science learning center in southern Pitt County; and Save a Sea Turtle Foundation to offer the camp. Prior to FoodMASTER Camp, the children spend a week at A Time for Science learning about water quality and conservation.

Melani Duffrin, FoodMASTER principal investigator and ECU professor of nutrition science, and Virginia Carraway-Stage, FoodMASTER director and assistant professor of nutrition science, are leading the initiative to create and test a FoodMASTER curriculum for middle graders in North Carolina. The summer science camp is part of that project.

FoodMASTER Summer Science Camp Director Jacqueline De Chabert-Rios is an assistant professor of hospitality leadership.  David Rivera, Jr., associate professor of hospitality leadership, also helps with camp efforts.

FoodMASTER has received over $2.7 million in funding from the National Institutes for Health’s (NIH) Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) to develop, implement, and disseminate food-based curriculums and materials to K-12 teachers in North Carolina and beyond. The FoodMASTER curriculum incorporates food activities into Common Core Standards for math and science.

FoodMASTER was created in 1999 by Duffrin along with Sharon Phillips, an Ohio elementary school teacher, to bring science, math, and nutrition concepts to life through activities using common household items such as measuring cups and spoons, cereals, flour, fruits, vegetables, and milk.

Learn more at