By the University of Indianapolis
This summer, 12 young engineers came together at the University of Indianapolis’ R.B. Annis School of Engineering to explore the field of engineering through hands-on projects and lessons led by UIndy engineering faculty.
Thanks to a grant provided by UNITE, campers were able to gain hands-on experience in CAD (computer aided design), 3D printing, programming and other key engineering skills. Campers assembled and tuned their own 3D printers – which they were able to take home with them after the camp – and used a combination of 3D printing and woodworking to build robots and CO2 cars. As campers were taught different design and fabrication techniques, they were also exposed to the entrepreneurial mindset, a key emphasis in the School of Engineering’s DesignSpine curriculum.
On Friday, July 1, the campers celebrated their hard work with a competition that included robot sumo wrestling, obstacle courses and speed tests, as well as CO2 car races.
To achieve its goal of exposing minority and economically disadvantaged pre-college students to engineering and developing an interest in a STEM career, the camp also featured several presentations on career options and college admissions processes.
“The camp focused on helping to remove any barrier to the pursuit of a STEM-based degree and career for the students,” explained Dr. David Olawale, camp instructor and assistant professor of engineering at UIndy. “The camp included inspiring and informative presentations from Army and Navy personnel on funding and career opportunities with the military to support the campers in the pursuit of a STEM-based college degree. Additionally, there were presentations to the campers and their parents by the UIndy Admissions Office as well as the Financial Aid Office on the nuances of successful college admissions application as well as financial aid application processes.”
Overall, campers and instructors alike agree that the camp was successful.
One Indianapolis high schooler described their experience: “Going into this, I thought that we were just building and learning code, but there was more to it than that! From the deconstructions, the laptop cutting, to the presentations, this camp has shown me the fun side of the STEM field. It’s shown me that I don’t have to be entirely too math-oriented and that you can have fun with your work if you’re in the right environment. The alumni and the teachers were very helpful and patient with us every step of the way. While I didn’t like waking up so early during summer, it was worth it. I would come back again and recommend this to any student who’s interested.”
The grant provided by UNITE will allow the School of Engineering to offer a unique camp experience again in the summer of 2023. Dr. Paul Talaga, camp director and associate professor of engineering at UIndy, is excited to welcome campers back and explore another side of engineering.
“With a fully-outfitted machine and woodshop, faculty, staff and undergraduate assistants with diverse expertise, we’re very excited to offer another hands-on camp,” said Dr. Talaga. “The camp committee will be evaluating the feasibility of topics, but current possibilities include a UAV camp, building electric scooters, advanced woodworking/boat-building, developing VR applications and writing Python-based games.”
Stay tuned for more information on Summer 2023 Engineering Day Camp at UIndy!