David J. Sencer CDC Museum:
In Association with the Smithsonian Institution
Camp Information Frequently Asked Questions
When is the next CDC Disease Detective Camp?
Two sessions will be offered in 2013: June 17-21, and July 22-26. All days are 8:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
What will I learn at CDC Disease Detective Camp?
The CDC Disease Detective Camp teaches attendees the fundamentals of CDC’s work: the field of public health and the science of epidemiology. Public health is a vast field that covers many aspects of keeping populations of people healthy. It includes, but is not limited to, research, data collection, data analysis, and health education. Epidemiology, the systematic study of diseases in populations, is one of the sciences used at CDC to help improve the public’s health.
I want to be a doctor. Will I learn about medicine during the week?
No. The camp mirrors CDC’s work, and since CDC is not a clinical medical facility, the camp does not have a medical treatment focus. While we do briefly discuss the pathology of some diseases, most of the time is spent focused on the collection and analysis of data and the use of that data to improve people’s health. The camp also covers the many different career options available within public health, including medical doctors, so if you are interested in medicine, this camp could be a good learning opportunity for you.
Who can apply?
The CDC Disease Detective Camp is open to motivated students who will be high school juniors or seniors during the 2013-2014 school year Applicants must be 16 years old by the first day of the camp in order to comply with CDC’s laboratory safety requirements. Absolutely no exceptions can be made to this rule.
How do I apply?
Applications are available here [PDF - 448KB]. If you have trouble downloading the application, please call 404-639-0830 to have an application mailed to you.
Instructions for completing the application can be found on page 1 of the application. Applications will only be accepted by mail. All documents must be mailed together, so be sure to double check that your application, essays, Recommendation Form and proof of age are included. Once your application is received, we will send you a confirmation email, so please make sure that your email address is correct.
I think my son/daughter would really enjoy this camp. How can I sign him/her up?
Due to the popularity of this camp, we expect there will be more interested students then we can accommodate. For this reason, we have an application process for interested students.
To ensure that the camp is an enjoyable experience for all participants, please discuss the camp with your son/daughter and refrain from applying on his/her behalf. We urge you and your son/daughter to read the information on this site and complete the application together.
Can I reserve a spot until I mail in my application?
Because this is a competitive process, we cannot reserve spaces. Once the April 5th application deadline is reached, each application will be reviewed.
How are participants selected?
Applicants are selected based on the Application Essay Questions submitted and the teacher/counselor recommendations. A panel of three current or retired CDC employees will read each application and use a rubric to score applications based on completion, proper grammar and well thought-out responses. We are seeking a diverse and eager-to-learn group of campers!
How will I know if I was selected?
All applicants are notified via email when their completed applications have been received. Be sure to add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email address book so that notifications won’t go to your spam folder.
Once the deadline date for camp applications has passed, applications are reviewed, and all applicants will receive notification emails indicating if they were given a slot in the camp or not by May 3, 2013.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost associated with attending the CDC Disease Detective Camp, but campers will need to pay for or bring their own lunches.
Where is the CDC?
CDC’s main campus is located at 1600 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta, Georgia. The CDC Disease Detective Camp is organized by staff in the David J. Sencer CDC Museum, at CDC headquarters.
I do not live in the Atlanta area. May I attend?
Yes! Non-Atlanta residents may apply for the camp, but are responsible for providing their own accommodations and transportation. Campers in past years have stayed with family friends or relatives in Atlanta.
What type of activities can I expect?
To make the camp an engaging and exciting experience, CDC staff members incorporate as many current newsworthy topics into the camp’s activities as possible. Due to the ever-changing curriculum and CDC facility availability, each camp’s activities may be different. Campers can expect a variety of experiences including re-created outbreaks, mock press conferences, environmental and global health activities, a laboratory session, an introduction to chronic disease surveillance, public health law, and short lectures from world-renowned CDC scientists. Take a look at the sample schedule [PDF - 152KB].
I work in the evenings. May I leave early?
No. To be respectful to camp presenters, campers are not allowed to leave early or arrive late. Please make arrangements that allow you to attend the camp from 8:45 am to 4:00 pm each day.
My parents work at CDC. May I have lunch with them?
No. While we understand that you may want to visit with your parents, your best chance of getting to know your fellow campers is by staying with the group -- even during lunch.
Science is not my best subject. May I still apply?
Yes! The field of public health is full of professionals with a diverse range of expertise—and not all are scientists! You only need to be eager to learn to apply for a camp slot.
What will I need to bring with me?
A government-issued picture ID is required to get through the security checkpoints. If you are selected as a camper, you will receive additional information on what you will need to bring with you.
Who will be attending the CDC Disease Detective Camp?
Twenty-seven high-school juniors and seniors will be selected for each camp session. Most attendees are from the Atlanta area, but every year we have out-of-state attendees. This is a wonderful opportunity to make friends from other schools!