Explore Engineering

Explore Engineering is a five-day summer enrichment program for middle school students from Charlottesville and Albemarle County; it is focused on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

This project is sponsored by the Public Education Foundation of Charlottesville/Albemarle, the UVA Center for Diversity and Inclusion, and UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and local businesses.

Camp participants meet each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Each morning, student teams get a hands-on engineering experience through various activities. At one camp, they were Special Delivery (transporting a ping pong ball to a remote location using a limited set of materials). They created “Harness the Wind” (generating electricity with wind power). At another camp, the students made “Trash Sliders” (building a vehicle from trash that could transverse an obstacle course without spilling its load) and Ra Power (designing and building a solar car to pull weighed cart).

Afternoons are devoted to individual art activities conceived and directed by a local artist. Last year, these included building UFO’s, making plaster fossils using sand casting, constructing and painting paper kites, and making masks using vacuform technology.

Each year the activities may be different, but always and excite the students.

Contact persons
Larry G Richards –
Leah Puryear –

Fine Arts camp

Telling Our Own Stories

Our Heritage & Culture, A Fine Arts Camp 

“Telling Our Own Stories” is a summer camp experience for two weeks usually at the end of July open to rising 5th through 9th grade students Charlottesville and Albemarle County public schools. Campers will be able to select tracks to focus on during camp from playwriting, film, visual art, theatrical arts, music, urban farming, and dance. All campers work together to create a final showcase. Applications will be available in spring of 2024 for the summer camp.

For more information contact Paula Chanda at


Teacher Innovation Grant

PEF is pleased to invite Albemarle County and Charlottesville City public education teachers to apply for the annual Teacher Innovation Grant for 2024. Grant funding gives teachers an opportunity to create and run an innovative learning project at any grade level. Mini grants at $499 and below are available as well as three tiers of grants up to $2,500. Innovative projects must address a learning goal in a new, unique way, engaging learners in a creative and effective way. All projects must align with the strategic plans for PEFCA, ACPS, and CCS. The deadline for grant applications is December 30, 2023.