Summer Camp FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the DNA Center's Summer Camps

My child will be entering 7th grade, can they attend a residential camp?
Unfortunately, no. The residential camps are intended for students who have completed grades 7  prior to the summer. Please contact us directly if you think an exception may be warranted. Also please consider a Workshop that is intended for younger students.

My child would like to attend a residential camp, but would like to commute to and from campus. Would it be possible to attend without staying in the dorms?
Unfortunately, no. If a child registers, he or she will need to stay in the dorms on campus. They will not be permitted to leave and return to campus during the camp, even with a parent/guardian. We apologize for any inconvenience, but in order to insure all students' safety we do not allow students to "check-out" during the camp. In the event of a personal emergency, you may move-out early, but will not be permitted to return. 

What time zone is Notre Dame part of in the summer?
Notre Dame is part of Eastern Standard Time and observes Daylight Savings Time. The time at Notre Dame is the same as New York City, Atlanta, or Indianapolis (and one hour ahead of Chicago).

Are there any discounts available for either the residential or day camps?
While there are no official discounts, we do offer scholarships throughout the year at various school functions (including science fairs!) Additionally, for those with demonstrated financial need (for example: qualify for free/reduced lunch), there are a limited number of partial scholarships. If you believe you qualify or want additional information, please contact

Are the dorms coed?
No. Male and female campers will be housed in separate dorms.

Are the dorms air-conditioned?
No, unfortunately they are not! All campers are encouraged to bring a fan. Luckily, there will be lots of activities throughout the day and evening so there will not be much time spent in the dorms.

Do I need to bring my own sheets, pillow, towels, etc?
Yes! No linens will be provided.

Will my room have its own bathroom?
No. Each room will have a sink, but bathrooms will be shared with other rooms on the floor.

Are there any dress code requirements for lab work?
Yes.  While in the lab you must have closed toe, closed heel shoes. This basically eliminates any sandals. You are welcome to bring sandals to wear to non-lab activities, but in the lab you will need to wear lab-approved shoes. This is a university policy, therefore no exceptions will be made.
Beginning in 2016, the university enacted a policy that requires ankle length pants or skirts in the lab. Unfortunately, because we are located on campus, we will be forced to follow this policy. During the day, you will spend chunks of time in the lab and so you are encouraged pack ankle length pants, capris, or skirts. One alternative is to pack a single pair of sweatpants, track pants, or even pajama pants that would be able to slip on over your shorts during the time you are in the lab. You would be able to leave the pants in the lab. Please feel free to contact us for further clarification.

What will happen if my completed forms or check is not received within the required two week window?
Your registration will still be honored provided you do return the required forms and check, but if it is not received within two weeks, your registration will be placed at the end of the line. This opens up the possibility that your desired camp may be full by the time your forms/check arrives. If that happens, we will gladly transfer your registration to another available camp or return the check. We strongly encourage you to complete the forms and mail the check as quickly after submitting the online form as possible to avoid this situation from occurring.

My child attended a DNA Center Summer Camp in the summer of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2109, or 2022. Is there a continuation camp they can attend this year?
We were planning to offer an alum camp in summer 2020, but the pandemic had other plans! Because we have not been able to offer any summer programs during the pandemic, there is no alum camp offered this summer. We hope to offer it again in the future once we have a sufficient number of "alums." The virtual Gene Expression Research Camp is an ideal opportunity for previous campers to continue their experience with the DNA Center. While we understand the limitation of being virtual, many of the same fun components of our summer programs are recreated in the Virtual camp. 

Are there specific class or grade requirements to participate in a summer program?
No outside knowledge is assumed or required. All we ask is a curiosity and love for science!

What happens if the University of Notre Dame does not allow visitors on campus for the summer?
We are optimistic that will not be the case, but we have no guarantee. If Notre Dame policies require us to cancel or alter any of our programs, any one who registers will have their money fully refunded. 

Will masks be required? What about vaccinations?
At this time, masks are required of all DNA Learning Center visitors, but vaccines are encouraged (not required). Vaccination is required at this time for all faculty, students, and staff. We are not yet sure of what the requirements will look like for the summer, but the DNA Learning Center will follow all University of Notre Dame policies. Additionally, for our residential programs, any requirements of the dorms will need to be followed by our participants. In 2022, Residential policies required all attendees to be vaccinated.  If you register and then are unable to meet or follow the university requirements, we will offer full refunds (no processing fees) for 2 weeks after the announcement of the policies. After the 2 weeks, the normal refund policy will be in place (Full refund through May 15 minus a $50 processing fee). We are not certain when the announcement will be made, but will be sharing it as soon as we hear.



Additional questions? Don't hesitate to contact us either via telephone 574-631-1506 or email.