All you fans of zombies in video games, TV shows and movies may be wondering whether an attack of the undead could actually happen — not today or tomorrow, but someday, maybe when we least expect it.|
What would you do? Would you, having studied all about zombies due to your fascination with how the subject is treated in popular media today, know a little more than your parents would about how to thwart an attack? Or do you sometimes have thoughts about whether you ought to be better prepared?
There are some adults out there who want to get you thinking that way — in case it's zombies or a different threat to mankind, like a particularly lethal strain of a virus or bacteria used in germ warfare, or a nuclear disaster, maybe even an asteroid strike that isolates the U.S. from crucial energy supplies in other parts of the world devastated by the hit from outer space.
Those adults are appealing to your knowledge of zombies, like when your Mom tricks you into eating vegetables by disguising them in some food you actually enjoy. But maybe you would be interested in playing along on this zombie idea, because … well, you just never know.
Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., is hosting a Zombie Scholars Academy (zombie.truman.edu/admission) in July. The deadline to apply is April 1. There will be 50 participants for a week of learning about zombies in the context of understanding how the U.S. is set up to defend itself from outside threats.
Did you see the movie "Apollo 13?" There was a crisis aboard a space ship, and a crowd of engineers at the Johnson Space Center back on Earth had to put their thinking caps on to figure out how the astronauts aboard could use what they had with them to get back into Earth's atmosphere safely. Oh, it was a true story, too.
Someday soon, you will be in that same situation, doing your regular job — when you'll need to put all your knowledge together and solve a really perplexing problem. Being prepared will make it all go smoothly — even though you still might be scared out of your wits while working on a solution!
Any student who has completed eighth through 11th grades by the end of this school year is eligible to apply to the Zombie Scholars Academy.
There will be math and engineering problem-solving sessions, study of theory and themes in literature and popular culture, physical exercise to prepare the mind and body for instant reaction and general fitness in case of sudden disaster, outdoor survival skills training, and actual disaster simulation to walk student scholars through the procedures experts use when dealing with a real nuclear, chemical or biological incident.
Or, the zombie plague.