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Summer 2018 Newsletter: Engineering Camp

Taylor White


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Engineering Camp Group Photo
Engineering Camp Group Photo

This year, USU STARS! GEAR UP teamed up with environment engineering faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students for the third straight year to put on an education-filled week for camp-goers.In addition to experiencing campus life, Engineering Camp offered opportunities for GEAR UP students to explore the field of engineering while learning about specific areas of study.

At the beginning of the week, students were divided into groups led by science teachers from GEAR UP schools from across Utah. Students quickly became friends with their group members while learning how to build a submarine out of PVC pipes, foam, and other common materials. Through team work, discussions, and some help from their teachers, students built remote-controlled submarines with some interesting and creative outcomes.

In addition to learning about what engineers do, students visited the many different places and environments where engineers work to solve problems that improve people’s lives. Campers visited work spaces ranging from classrooms and laboratories on campus to nature and field studies in Logan Canyon. Using a drone to collect atmospheric data, students learned about the vital role engineers play in monitoring and addressing current air quality concerns in Utah.

Another outdoor activity took students to First Dam at the mouth of Logan Canyon where they analyzed water depth and quality. Students took full advantage of their time near the water to also test the remote-controlled submarines they built earlier in the week, collecting additional data for their final poster projects.

“Communication of technical information is... an essential element of data-driven fields,” said Ryan Dupont, USU professor of civil and environmental engineering. Awareness of the importance of data provides the students with “experiences that they can hopefully relate to when they are critically reviewing and analyzing information that other people have generated.” Other USU faculty members and presenters included Kurt Becker, Nancy Mesner, and Max Longhurst.

As future engineers, students worked in teams to analyze what they learned and draw conclusions using information and data gathered throughout the week. Questions and hypotheses were formed into research posters which were presented on the final day of camp, to peers, mentors,and university engineering professionals.

Engineering Camp is one of many examples of USU STARS! GEAR UP activities that provide critical early college awareness, giving students the chance to explore new material and ways of thinking while fostering opportunities that are both educational and memorable.