Educational professionals have long warned parents about summer slump, where students forget some of what they learned over the previous school year. One way to prevent it is to engage students in educational summer camps.
“Learning loss is a very real thing,” says Scott Vollmer, vice president of STEM learning at Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. “You want your child to continue learning through the summer. But anyone with a child knows motivating a child in the summer is difficult. That is where educational camps come in. It’s not school, but it will keep that pace in the summer that kids are used to in the school year.”
Educational camps allow kids and teens to have fun while staying sharp. Participating in an engineering program like TryEngineering Summer Institute exposes older students to a wide range of experiences, including making new friends, acquiring collaboration and presentation skills, participating in hands-on design challenges, and growing more independent.
“Educational camp experiences provide an environment for growth, specifically about facing failure,” Vollmer explains. “In other camps, you don’t get those opportunities to fail and you definitely don’t get that at school. At summer camp, you can botch something and try over. There is a high reward with low risk.”
The key to getting kids engaged over the summer lies in choosing an educational camp based on their interests, where they will meet like-minded friends.
Of the TryEngineering Summer Institute, one student reflected, “This camp was life changing! I made so many new friends and got to understand how to solder, 3D design, build drones, and most of all, I got to meet and still keep in contact with all of the campers.”
Work together with your teen to choose the right summer experience for them, one that will challenge them while also embracing their interests. And when your teen is back in class in the fall, they will feel more confident and ready for what lies ahead.
When investigating summer camp options for your daughter, it’s important to consider and encourage her interests, especially when she shows interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Studies show that girls lose interest in pursuing math and science fields in middle school. However, research conducted by Girl Scouts shows that 74 percent of high school girls across the United States are interested in the field and subjects of STEM, and that those girls are high achievers who are exposed to a variety of opportunities and support systems.
An engineering summer camp is an ideal environment for nurturing your daughter’s interest in STEM, providing opportunities to participate in hands-on design challenges, meet real-life engineers, and visit engineering workplaces to see what it would really be like to work in engineering.
Here are three basic reasons why girls should enroll in engineering summer camp:
Because they can. The stereotype that girls aren’t interested in STEM is just that, a stereotype. Girls need to be exposed to engineering early on so they can make informed decisions when choosing their career paths. “Engineering is not only meant for boys,” says Ana Quezada, a biomedical engineering student at the University of California, Riverside and 2012-2013 International Fellow, in an article published by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). “If you have any doubts, just take a look around you. Everything you see has some engineering in it. I believe girls will love engineering if they will only give it a try. It’s not only focused on cars and boys; it is more about creating new things from scratch just using your imagination.”
Because engineering needs more women. Around the world, there’s a lack of women working in the engineering field. In the United States, only 13% of engineers are women. The UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe, with only 11% of the engineering workforce being female. There’s a major skills shortage in engineering, science, and technology professions overall, and it’s important that we inspire many more young people to take up careers in these crucial areas.
Because the next big thing could be made by a girl. New technologies are developed every day, but if only one group of people is responsible for creating solutions, those technologies may not be the best they can be. That’s why diversity in the field of engineering is so important. NASA aerospace engineer Aprille Ericsson explains, “The different perspective that each human being brings forth toward solving problems and creating unique tools is required for us to continue to create awesome projects like Mars rovers, prosthetic limbs, or nano cancer treatments.”
Encourage your daughter to pursue her engineering dreams. Share with her IEEE’s free infographic highlighting exciting engineering careers and enroll her in the TryEngineering Summer Institute today.
This summer, each session at each TESI location features at least one TESI Talk! TESI Talks features presentations (followed by Q+A) by industry-leading professional engineers, entrepreneurs and more who will be providing real-world experience, know-how and guidance to our students!
TESI Talk Speaker Profile: Oscar Pedroso and David Brenner: Thimble.io
Oscar Pedroso is the Chief Executive Officer of Thimble. Oscar graduated from the University of Rochester with a degree in Mathematics and Economics in 2006. He is the first in his family to graduate with a college degree. After graduation, Oscar became a college admissions officer at the University of Rochester, School of Engineering, where he did some independent consulting on behalf of high school students who were interested in attending the college. Oscar noticed that the majority of these students that he helped were working on exciting STEM-related projects outside of school, but found that they really had no way to capture these projects in a way that would make them stand out from the usual GPA and SAT scores. The projects that they were building and creating were being captured, for the most part, using physical portfolios to discuss their projects and share with others.
Oscar quickly learned that without the right resources, these students would decide to leave their STEM majors during their first two years in college because they either lost interest and pursued other courses (humanities) or just didn’t perceive enough value in completing a STEM degree. It made Oscar ask various questions such as: 1) How do you impress upon these students at the right age that the world is their oyster if only they pursue a STEM major? 2) How do you provide the right resources for these students, especially earlier on in their educational career, where they see the significance of such a degree or major?
In an effort to answer these questions, Oscar started GradFly, a tool that allowed students to build an online portfolio to showcase and explore STEM projects and share them with colleges and companies recruiting top talent. His role at Rochester led him to become a mentor for several FIRST Robotics organizations. He is obsessed with DIY and Maker communities and spends his time trying to understand makers and what makes them tick.
David Brenner serves as Chief Technology Officer and utilizes his technical strengths to design and develop Thimble’s core product: hardware kits, software learning applications, and learning content. He provides guidance for company strategy, hiring decisions, and oversees the planning, scheduling of contract vendors, and product development. David graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in computer engineering, where he also attended graduate school. He has previously worked for Microwave Data Systems, Advanced Micro Devices, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and IBM.
His work experience focused primarily on computer architecture, digital ASIC design, and pre-silicon functional verification. Highlights include: functional verification of a low-power floating point unit for the Bobcat x86 low-power processor, platform architecture guidance through analysis of an interconnect generation tool for Intel’s Atom processor system-on-chip (intended for use in cell phones and tablets), the promotion of MySQL, Solaris, and other open-source technologies created by Sun Microsystems at RIT through an educational lecture series, creation of verification models for IBM’s first 22nm system ASIC, and development of a documentation generation tool that was adopted by all of IBM’s Systems and Technology Group ASIC design teams (resulting in personal recognition from IBM’s BlueGene supercomputer team). David has been interested in electronics, computers, and technology since a very young age. He grew up with the maker movement and has a deep understanding of the market, its values, its needs, and its culture.
These two speakers will be appearing at our Vaughn College location each session this summer and will be live-streamed to our other locations (if possible.) Our UC_Riverside and Texas A+M locations also have confirmed TESI Talks: Speaker Series for each session and we will be doing a future blog post on those soon!
While grades and standardized test scores are still the top factor for college admission, colleges take a close look at extracurricular activities as well. What students do over the summer is of particular interest.
According to Mark Kantrowitz, senior video president
and publisher at Edvisors Network, in an article
published by CNBC, colleges think of summertime in the same way that a
prospective employer thinks about a hiatus between jobs. “Colleges want to
understand, what have you been doing with yourself? What happened during that
gap?” he explains. The answer to those questions can be indicative of what a
student will spend time doing on campus.
The summer experiences that are most likely to stand out to college admissions officers are those more specialized than a recreational summer camp. Students hoping to show off their dedication to athletics might consider a sports camp, while someone who has their sights set on admission to an engineering school will want to spend time over the summer at an engineering program that will set them apart from other applicants.
Something that makes Steven Infanti, associate vice president for admissions at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, take a closer look at a student’s application is a STEM camp experience. “When I look at an applicant who has a 2.5 [GPA], which would be kind of a borderline admit for us, but I see on the application, I participate in this camp … that shows a lot of initiative and someone who has passion,” he says.
Attending a camp can also help solidify what a student wants to do for a living in the future, helping them to be more focused in college.
As one past TryEngineering Summer Institute student
said, “Multiple times throughout the camp, I had these moments where I could
envision my future with such clarity that I now know my future major and
profession will be in engineering.”
During the college admissions process, students may
choose to showcase their summer experience in a variety of ways, from simply
listing it as an extra-curricular activity on a college application to working especially
meaningful experiences into the essay portion.
“If you had a transformative experience at the summer program or a
big impact on others, that tells them more about who you are as an individual,
especially if you can write about how it set you in a particular direction,”
Kantrowitz said. “If something is of interest to you, you’re more likely to
write a passionate essay.”
Students might also consider reaching out to summer camp
counselors or directors for letters of recommendation. “Relatively few students
submit letters from outside [school] or that are job-related,” says Eric
Greenberg, founder and director of education consulting firm Greenberg
Educational Group. “That can be enormously valuable.”
Each weekday during TryEngineering Summer Institute is packed with fun, hands-on design challenges and learning the latest in engineering and technology. There’s also time for students to relax and get to know each other better. But what about the weekend?
Here’s what weekends have in store for Summer Institute students at each campus:
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology
As if having a front-row seat to aeronautics engineering at LaGuardia Airport and access to the college’s flight simulator all week weren’t enough, students at Vaughn this summer have all of New York City to explore on the weekend. On Saturday, they’ll explore Manhattan, starting with a visit to One World Observatory, the Oculus, and the 9/11 Memorial. Afterward, depending on student interest, availability, and weather, they’ll split into groups to take in more of the city. Check out Times Square, ride the Staten Island Ferry, see the Statue of Liberty, walk through Central Park. Sunday will be spent in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, relaxing on the beach, walking the boardwalk, trying a Nathan’s Famous hot dog, or riding the amusement park rides.
University of California, Riverside
Just 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, UCR is distinguished by more than 60 years of high-impact research. But after a week of everything engineering, students will get to spend their Saturday at Raging Waters Los Angeles, a 60-acre waterpark with more than 50 world-class rides, slides, and attractions. Named a “Top 10 Water Park” by USA Today, Raging Waters boasts the state’s only hydromagnetic water coaster. On Sunday, students stay local, making use of the great on-campus facilities. They can cool off in the outdoor pool, play games in the gym, or work out in the fitness center to relax and recharge for the exciting week ahead.
Texas A&M University
Not only is Texas A&M located near the heart of the United States space program, it’s also close to Grand Station, the area’s largest entertainment venue. So on Saturday, students will get to bowl on one of Grand Station’s 40 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, play with the amazing virtual reality gaming system, participate in a game of laser tag, and challenge their skills in the interactive arcade. On Sunday, they’ll have the opportunity to explore on-campus facilities like the rec center, featuring a rock climbing wall, gymnasium, fitness center, and pool, before resting up and prepping for week two of engineering fun.
At the TryEngineering Summer Institute, the emphasis is on learning, but it’s also about making new friends and having fun. Each of our three campus locations offers unique facilities that make this an unforgettable experience for teens. Be sure to register early to get your first choice campus and session!