FINAL: NIU Ph.D. student in English and writing camp Director Doug DePalmer of DeKalb, IL, was a counselor last summer and assumed the directorship this year when the current director stepped down and asked DePalmer take over. DePalmer likes working with the students and then seeing the improvements that they make during their time in the camp. “They are great students,” DePalmer said. They showed tremendous enthusiasm to work on their writing and the quality of their writing itself actually surprised him, given their age. “The quality of the fiction itself is impressive for high school students,” DePalmer said.