TryEngineering Summer Institute

An exciting two-week, on-campus engineering camp for high school students held at three premier universities across the United States in 2019.

2023 Dates Coming Soon!


Off-campus Academic Field Trip Confirmations

We are thrilled to announce some of the off-campus field trips we will be taking this summer as part of our academic experience! We work very hard to arrange these trips, and our commitment is to provide our students access to meet and interact with real engineers at their places of work, to see what their jobs are really like, and to get to see engineering in action!

This summer we have many trips already confirmed:

Rice University:

NASA Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston – We have visited this famed facility each summer because we know Engineers who work there and it has been the center of all US human spaceflight for more than 50 years. On a guided behind-the-scenes tour, conducted by a retired Apollo propulsion engineer who helped get astronauts to the Moon, we visited Mission Control, the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility where current astronauts train and the historic Rocket Park to see the Saturn V moon rocket. We had access to Space Center Houston and all of the artifacts and displays that trace US achievements in space and how engineers and scientists have contributed. The visit also coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and there were many special exhibits and events.  This summer our Rice engineering camp will be even better!

University of Pennsylvania:

Leonardo Helicopter:

This summer we have confirmed a behind the scenes tour of Leonardo Helicopters.   Leonardo builds helicopters for military and commercial operators from a large manufacturing plant in Northeast Philadelphia, one of 4 the company has throughout the globe.    The helicopters that are built at this plant are used by militaries, governments, and private users all over the world for a variety of missions, including Homeland Security, Fire-Fighting, Emergency Medical Service (Medevac),  Search and Rescue, VIP and Corporate transportation.   Students will see and learn first-hand from Leonardo’s engineers and pilots about how helicopters are designed and built, which will include special behind-the-scenes tours of the manufacturing lines and the pilot training academy.

Boeing Ridley Park

This summer we are planning a behind the scenes tour of the Boeing Ridley Park facility. Boeing is a leading producer of both commercial and military aircraft, and the Ridley Park site is part of the Boeing Defense Vertical Lift Division. Boeing Ridley Park is the manufacturing center for the H-47 Chinook aircraft, the V-22 Osprey fuselage and Common Configuration – Readiness and Modernization (CC-RAM), and delivery center for the MH-139 aircraft. About 4,500 employees work at this site. Students will have an opportunity to tour the production lines for the H-47 and V-22 and will also get to interact and learn from the engineers who are working on these amazing products.

TryEngineering Summer Institute STEM Summer Camp teens get an exclusive tour of the tarmac during a field trip to LaGuardia Airport

Vaughn College of Aeronautics:

This summer we are planning a behind the scenes tour of LaGuardia Airport. The airport, which has two new terminals in operation, is in the process of a multi-billion-dollar redevelopment initiative designed to transform the facility into an ultra-modern transportation hub for passengers. Completing a massive construction program while keeping this busy metropolitan airport operating involves intricate planning and execution. Students will see and learn first-hand from airport engineers what it takes to manage and operate the airport as well as the construction, tour some of the facilities and if weather permits visit the ramp to see the aircraft landing and taking-off.  

Please note: all field trips are subject to change based on weather or other uncertainties!

From TESI student to TESI staff and an Engineering Major – Karina’s story!

Hear from a former student and current staffer about how the IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute helped her decide on her future:

Hi! I enrolled in the IEEE Try Engineering Summer Institute at Texas A&M University in College Station back in 2018. At the time, I was 16 years old and wanted to do something out of the ordinary that summer. One of my old robotics mentors recommended that I apply to the Try Engineering Summer Institute to gain more experience in engineering while exploring a university. As I was looking into the program, I mentioned it to two of my high school friends— and we all applied. What most attracted me to this program was that I would be able to experiment with different projects and find a specific field of interest in engineering. I also like that while doing so, I could explore one of the top universities I wanted to attend.  

Being accepted into the program was thrilling, and no words can describe such an experience. I recall walking into the Neely Hall Dorms with my two friends from high school, where we were welcomed by the resident assistants, Tahj and Lauren. They asked for our names and escorted us to our dorms. From there, we unpacked and met everyone in the lounge room where we all introduced ourselves, including where we were from. I recall meeting several people from other states and other countries. After meeting everyone, we had many “ice breakers” (activities that allowed us to get to know the other students that were in the program). After the first day of activities/games, the academic part of the program began. We met our two professors of the institution, and they gave us an introduction to what we would be doing. I recall sitting in the class having no clue as to how to solder a resistor to a circuit board at first. Nonetheless, I created my very own circuit board. The professors gave us detailed instructions. Plus, I even got help learning how to use a soldering iron from some other students . While doing so, we were able to bond with one another as we shared a few laughs. That was one of the many activities that I consider both a learning and memorable experience.


Before the program, I always had an interest in robotics and participated in robotics competitions along with other STEM related extracurricular activities. As a high schooler, I was on a journey to search for a field in engineering that I would like to pursue. I had been a member of the robotics club since the 8th grade (middle school) to gain a generalization of robotics engineering. Little did I know, I had a strong fascination with the mechanics of robots. I would constantly stay in robotics practice until late at night to work on different mechanisms to attach to the robots, so that the team could accomplish more tasks to win competitions. At that point, I still was not sure if other engineering fields would be appealing to me. It wasn’t until I enrolled in the Try Engineering Summer Institute, that I knew what field of engineering I wanted to study

Currently, I am in the General Engineering Program at Texas A&M University at Higher Education Center in McAllen where I’m taking the basic engineering courses needed to apply to my desired engineering major. Next semester, I will be transitioning to College Station to pursue a degree in the mechanical engineering program at College Station. Once I do so, I also plan on working towards a minor in electrical engineering in addition to my bachelors degree in mechanical engineering.

My friend from high school, who also attended the Summer Institute in 2018, mentioned how she applied to the program to become a resident assistant. She recommended that I should apply and I did not give it a second thought. I applied the following day because I knew how the resident assistants made it more memorable when I attended the summer institute and I want to do the same for the incoming students. 

I would like to tell the incoming students “ The whole purpose of the camp is to learn, meet new people, and make some long lasting memories.”

See you this summer!


Karina (former student and now a new resident assistant and staff member for Summer 2022!)

Photonics TryEngineering Tuesday

Our friends at TryEngineering and the IEEE Photonics Society are digging into Photonics! They post about it every Tuesday of March. Here is a little peek at what they are up to!

What do light, lasers, and fiber optics all have in common? Photonics! Without a doubt, photonics is really cool! From smartphone applications and laser shows to solar power and biomedical advancements, photonics is making our world a better place.

Photonics is the science and technology of generating and controlling light particles called photons, and, in particular, using light to carry information. The IEEE Photonics Society is transforming science into technology. Explore how you can too, through this exciting world of photonics.

  • Learn what photonics is and why it is important. Watch “What is Photonics?“ video by Innovation Trail and enjoy this fun animated video called the Stolen Cup by Photonics4ALL. 
  • Hear about photonics innovations in Cheryl Schnitzer’s, “We are in a Photonics Revolution“ Tedx Talk and take a look at the indispensable role of photonics in our lives on Photon Terrace’s applications of light site.
  • Many of our everyday technologies rely on photonics, even our smartphones run on or are created by over 100 different photonics applications. Watch this “A Bright Future with Photonics” video by Sci2 to learn more.

Have fun and learn more about photonics and optics by trying out some hands-on activities.

  • Build a classroom cave using Laser Classroom’s Light is for Seeing activity and explore how light illuminates objects and allows us to see them.
  • How fast does light move? Measure the speed of light with a chocolate bar in this fun activity from Laser Classroom.  
  • Test your Heart Rate with a Photonics app! GoPhoton! Heart Rate is an educational app created by GoPhoton!. This app, using your camera phone, allows you to measure your heart rate by analyzing the changes in absorption of light by the blood as your heart beats.
  • Discover how to transmit music over a laser beam by manipulating mirrors. Check out this Laser Challenge by DiscoverE. 
  • Optical Illusions can use color, light and patterns to create images that can trick to our brains. Anamorphic cylinder art is an optical illusion developed by artists as far back as the 1600’s as a way to hide and code messages in their artwork.Try creating your own version with Instructables, Cylinder Mirror Art
  • Have you watched a movie with 3D glasses? If you have, you will know that 3D glasses make it appear as if images are jumping right off the page. If you haven’t, now is your chance. You can make your own 3D glass with steps provided by Wikihow. Learn how 3D glasses work in this video by Scientific American.
  • Design a lens system, to improve vision with TryEngineering’s lesson an Eye for Optics
  • What exactly is color?  Why is it that one M&M is red and another one is green? Of course, it all has to do with light! Explore all about color in Laser Classrooms activity, Color Absorption and Reflection with M&M’s

Be Inspired by hearing how your peers are making a difference in their communities and then try it yourself! 

Have a different idea on how to make a positive difference in your community? Be creative! Then share with the TryEngineering family to inspire others to do the same.

  • Write down at least one thing you learned about photonics.
  • Think about how to inspire others and make a difference in your community through light science.  
  • Have you, a family member, or teacher share your work on Facebook or Twitter using #tryengineeringtuesday. We want to hear from you!  
  • If you tried any of the activities, make sure you download your IEEE Photonics Society Badge. Collect them all and store them using this badge collection tool.

Thank you to the IEEE Photonics Society for making this TryEngineering Tuesday possible!

If you are interested in engineering and you want to explore more about your potential future in the industry check out the TryEningeering Summer Institute. At this summer engineering program for high school students, you’ll explore various engineering fields, such as electricalcivilmechanical, and aerospace. Our engineering summer camp allows for you to meet and work alongside real life professional engineers, which can be a rewarding experience not found at other engineering camps.

Scholarships Available – Apply Today!

STEM education. Science Technology Engineering Mathematics. STEM concept with drawing background. STEM icon set.

We are so excited to share information about the TryEngineering Summer Institute Scholarship Program with you and your students.

A number of additional need-based scholarships are available for students who have a passion for engineering, but who don’t have the financial means to attend the TryEngineering Summer Institute program. As a scholarship recipient, they’ll have the opportunity to attend tuition-free with room and board included.

Scholarship Deadline: April 9th, 2021

IEEE, the world’s largest not-for-profit technical association for engineers and technologists, created this program to inspire the next generation of problem-solvers and difference-makers. Held on university campuses across the United States, this two-week summer program helps teenagers explore STEM in a whole new way—and the experience looks great on college applications!

During the program, students ages 13-17 will experience:

  • Hands-on design challenges
  • Life on a college campus
  • A chance to speak to working engineers about their career paths
  • Field trips to engineering facilities (previous visits have included NASA’s Johnson Space Center, ConEdison power stations, and more)

If you’d like, I can provide informational materials about the program that you can share with your students. You can also access information materials here on our website.

Thanks for being part of our mission to introduce the next generation to a fulfilling career in engineering and helping to make a difference in the lives of these students. Together, we can help put more kids on the path to STEM careers.

Basic Electricity & Magnetism: “But it’s the Law, Doktor Ohm!”

Teach your students the basics of electricity and magnetism with the IEEE TryEngineering lesson plan, “Basic Electricity & Magnetism: “But it’s the Law, Doktor Ohm!”. This is a simple activity great for kids ages 8 – 18. Learn more today about our high school engineering camps here.

Lesson Focus

This lesson focuses on the basics of electricity and magnetism. It begins by outlining the work of some of the early experimenters and the sequence which eventually led to the realization of how a changeable electromagnetic field could be harnessed to other purposes. From there the lesson goes on to demonstrate how electric currents, magnetic fields and electrostatic fields are so closely related.  A series of simple hands-on activities are provided at the end of the lesson. The lesson ends with a section in which the students are invited to discuss with the teacher, various ways in which they think these demonstrations could be improved.