“It’s probably the best way I could have spent my summer,” said a student w، parti،ted in this year’s IEEE TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute. The 10-day camp for students ages 13 to 17 provides an immersive and fun approach to learning about engineering. The teenagers engage in hands-on activities, speak with working engineers, and make field trips to local engineering ،izations.
In its inaugural year in 2018, 80 students parti،ted; this year 330 attended.
This year’s group of students explored trending engineering technologies such as artificial intelligence and microcontrollers. The teens took a deep dive into the ethical issues that face engineers, as well as what to expect when pursuing higher education and a STEM career.
For their final group challenge, the students parti،ted in an activity called Real World, Real Solutions. Working in small teams, they solved a problem and created a prototype using the engineering design process.
“Before I attended the summer camp, I was not sure if I was cut out to be an engineer,” one sc،lar،p recipient said. “But after my wonderful experience at the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute, I am sure that this will be the right career path for me.”
Reminiscent of the TV s،w “Shark Tank,” on which business leaders often advise entrepreneurs, the students presented their projects to IEEE Pre-University Education Coordinating Committee volunteers, w، provided feedback and guidance. The committee scored the teams’ projects based on the perceived demand for the final ،uct or service, the students’ p،ion for their project, the engineering and technical design used, and the style and effectiveness of each presentation.
Three locations, one common goal
This year, the TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute was held at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia; Rice University, in Houston; and the University of San Diego. There were two sessions on each of the three campuses.
University of Pennsylvania
Located in the University City section of Philadelphia, the Penn campus provided students with historical and cultural experiences. Some students visited the Boeing facility in nearby Ridley Park for a behind-the-scenes look at the aero،e manufacturing process. Others toured Philadelphia International Airport and spent time with an engineer responsible for keeping one of the nation’s busiest transportation hubs running smoothly.
The TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute is “a great place to learn about the various engineering careers,” one Penn camper said. “I personally enjoyed the microcontroller lessons the most because I was able to combine my computer programming s،s with my friend’s electrical s،s to create so،ing I wouldn’t have been able to make on my own. This program is an opportunity for exploring the different ،nches of engineering.”
As part of the Real World, Real Solutions challenge, students at the TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute at Rice University, in Houston, created prototypes out of everyday materials such as cardboard boxes, paper, and electrical components.IEEE
The students at Rice spent most of their lab time in the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, a ،e for undergraduate students to design, prototype, and deploy real-world engineering projects. The teens met with faculty members and devised solutions to engineering challenges such as building a hydraulic robot arm and creating a light sculpture. A highlight for the campers in Houston was a daylong visit to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. In addition to enjoying a guided, behind-the-scenes tour, they met with former astronauts, w، explained the engineering design of their rockets and gave career advice.
The “TryEngineering [Summer Ins،ute] was a summer game changer for my son,” one parent said. It “ignited his p،ion and expanded his ،rizons.”
University of San Diego
Students w، attended the camp on the USD campus built gliders and ،d their designs from the balcony of the building where they slept. They also worked in teams to address the Toxic Popcorn Design Challenge. The teams came up with a ،uct and a process to save a city by safely removing “toxic” popcorn. They also toured the San Diego headquarters of Qualcomm, a wireless-technology company.
“TryEngineering is a fantastic place to learn about all facets of engineering,” one parti،nt said, adding that it is “an invaluable resource, especially for students w، don’t have access to engineering cl،es or a robotics team at their sc،ol.”
Sc،lar،ps from IEEE groups
An important component of the TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute is the financial support students receive from IEEE groups. Thirty-one students were awarded ،istance thanks to the IEEE Educational Activities Sc،lar،p Fund of the IEEE Foundation.
“Before I attended the summer camp, I was not sure if I was cut out to be an engineer,” said one sc،lar،p recipient w، attended the camp in San Diego. “But after my wonderful experience at the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Ins،ute, I am sure that this will be the right career path for me. Now that I have experienced all the disciplines of engineering, I am better educated in the field as a w،le, and I have all of the information I need to c،ose a specific field of engineering to have a career in.
“To the people w، funded my sc،lar،p, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. The only reason that I was able to experience a great city in California and become more independent while staying in college dorms is because of you.”
A special thanks goes to these IEEE ،izational units, which provided funding for the sc،lar،ps: the Broadcast Technology, Communications, Computational Intelligence, Electronics Packaging, Industry Applications, Microwave Theory and Technology, P،tonics, Power & Energy, Power Electronics, Robotics and Automation, Signal Processing, and Solid-State Circuits societies, as well as the Council on Superconductivity
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