SWE camp hosts 100 high school students

SWE Camp Group

High school students from across the state recently had the opportunity to visit Texas A&M University and gain hands-on experience with engineering during the Society of Women Engineers High School Conference. This year marked the 40th time the conference has been held at Texas A&M.

The two-day camp hosted 100 high school students and required months of planning and the work of 70 volunteers. About 40 students stayed in residence halls overnight, getting an authentic Texas A&M student experience.

Following an Iron Chef inspired theme, the students used unconventional food-related materials to solve three design challenges, competing against the clock for first place. They also had their photo taken with Reveille, went to yell practice and watched performances by the Aggie Wranglers and Fade 2 Black dance troupes. 

Sweconference

Volunteer Gissel Gardea said she went to a similar camp in high school. It was an experience that inspired her to major in engineering herself.

“After I came back from the engineering camp I attended, I somehow knew that engineering was for me,” she said. “I didn’t see myself doing anything else, and I’m glad the camp made me realize that. Camps and conferences are a great way to figure out what we love to do.”

Gardea said she enjoyed sharing her experiences with students and answering questions.

“I had a couple of conversations with some of the students about career choices, engineering and Texas A&M in general,” she said “One of the girls that was in my lab tour group asked me why I chose engineering, and I simply said ‘Because I love to solve problems.’”

Volunteer Nicholas Wieworowski is a master’s student in the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. He helped students check in at the beginning of the camp and led participants on lab tours.

“I got to see the combination of anticipation and anxiety on the faces of the students as they entered, and got to work with them through initial introductions,” he said. “As the conference went on, it was wonderful to see the anxiety leave to be replaced with excitement and energy about the event.”

Wiewiorowski enjoyed watching the students participate in classroom discussions.

“Most amazing was watching their minds work through the problems with only limited background — engineers in the making,” he said.

Wiewiorowski said the camp is a good way to present engineering in a different way than what high school students might be familiar.

“Hopefully we inspired them to consider engineering at Texas A&M in the future,” he said. “This truly is a wonderful event SWE puts on, and I want to say that they do a tremendous job. I hope this continues for many more years into the future.”