Texas A&M Engineering summer camps host 120 students

Robots, lasers, solar cars, and field trips: Engineering summer camps in July organized by Texas A&M Engineering had them all. About 60 high school students from 12 Texas schools participated in the E12 Explore Engineering (E12) camp July 4-7, and almost 60 girls participated in the Women Explore Engineering (WEE) camp July 11-14.The four-day camps gave participants the opportunity to explore engineering as a career. E12 and WEE participants worked in teams to design, build and test a solar car made from Lego blocks; develop and test a game using a laser transmitter and detector circuits they built; and develop, assemble and race small mobile autonomous robots in the KRYSIS workshop given by Dr. Joseph Morgan and Dr. Jay Porter of the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution.The solar energy and laser design projects were led by Dr. Thomas Blasingame of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering and Dr. Christi Madsen of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.Through interactions with engineering faculty and current students, field trips to engineering facilities and hands-on design projects, camp participants learned about different fields of engineering and the undergraduate majors offered by the college. Many participants said that the camps helped them learn about engineering in a way that was both fun and engaging.The camps are designed to give students a chance to experience the design process and team work. Students completed their projects and presented their work in a poster session. Engineering faculty and staff served as judges to award the top three teams in each design group."Engineering summer camps are an excellent way to increase the number of students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)," said Dr. César Malavé, associate dean for engineering, who cites faculty interaction as one of the reasons for the camps' success. "Texas A&M's engineering summer camps are among the few camps that allow students to interact directly with faculty in design projects."Through support of generous sponsors, students who would not have been able to attend otherwise were able to receive scholarships for the camp. Contributions to the camp were provided by Caterpillar, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Eastman, Ray Galvin '53, Hewlett Packard and Subsea Tieback Foundation."Financial support is important for our camps," said Magdalini Lagoudas, director of Engineering Student Services and Academic Programs. "It helps us provide high-performing students who might not have otherwise explored engineering to come and see what it's like to be an engineer. This support is allowing us to excite the next generation of engineers."The E12 and Women Explore Engineering Summer Camps were also held in 2009. Approximately 60 percent of the admitted seniors from each of the 2009 summer camps are enrolled in classes for the Fall 2010 semester. The Dwight Look College of Engineering is already planning next year's summer camps in order to continue this successful program.To view pictures from both camps, visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamu-essap/.Written by Joy Monroe, jmonroe@tamu.edu