A group of students from a newly formed student organization with a focus on global education spent Spring Break at the Soltis Center in Costa Rica, conducting an engineering camp for middle-school students.
Five students were all from Aggies for Global Education, one of the newest organizations on campus. The group was started by Rigoberto Lopez, a senior mechanical engineering major, as a way to give back to the global community while helping his fellow Aggies gain international experience. The mission of the organization is to inspire young students locally and internationally to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by teaching STEM concepts through hands-on activities.
The first day of the engineering camp was an introduction to the various engineering disciplines at Texas A&M, and the main topic for the day was structures. The students built geodesic domes and designed a structure to protect an egg from a one-storey fall. For Energy Day, the students learned about the various types of energy sources beginning with fossil fuels and learning how Stirling engines work to geothermal, solar and wind energy. The students built their own DC motors and generators to learn about the inner workings of a wind turbine. The next day the volunteers covered the history of flight and how airplanes fly for Aerospace Day. The students built and tested airplanes, and then launched rockets. The last day was Robotics Day. The students learned about circuits and electronics and then they each built a robot. Afterwards they were taught how to program the robots and the volunteers held a robot race.
The Aggie engineering students ended the week by presenting each student with a certificate of excellence and by leaving them with some words of inspiration from Robert Goddard: "It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow”.
In addition, to leading the lessons, the volunteers had the opportunity to hike the rainforest, go zip-lining, swim at the hot springs, and watch a middle-school dance group perform a few cultural dances. The Aggie volunteers returned the favor by sharing the Aggie Spirit through the "Aggie War Hymn" and two-step lessons.