Girls camp focused on engineering


Morgan Atkinson (left) of Huber Heights and Abagail Collins of Hudson, work together to design a device to clear a pathway in a clogged artery using a plastic tube model filled with frosting to represent plaque buildup. Atkinson attends Wayne High School in Huber Heights and Collins attends Our Lady of the Elms in Akron. The clogged artery simulation activity was led by Dr. Carin Helfer, a senior research scientist in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

AKRON — What’s a day in the life of an engineer really like? High school girls recently received a peek at The University of Akron’s Summer Experience in Engineering.

The weeklong camp engages participants in faculty-led morning activities such as programming three-dimensional LED cubes and designing a medical device to clear clogged arteries. Campers also toured local companies where they met and learned about biomedical, civil, chemical, electrical and mechanical engineers in their various roles. At the end of the week, the campers — grouped into teams — competed against one another with engineering design and research projects on which they have worked throughout the week.

“The camp is a great way for young women to get a taste of what engineering is like and to discover that engineers are nothing like the stereotype. Engineering requires teamwork and creativity,” said Dr. Joan Carletta, UA professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Carletta says that, often, high school students are steered toward engineering simply because they excel at math or science.

“This camp gives them a chance to see all the ways engineers use that math and science to make the world a better place,” Carletta says.

Multiply Your Options (MYO), an engineering summer camp for middle school girls, was also hosted on the UA campus. MYO is sponsored by Dominion and PPG Industries and SEE UA is sponsored by ALCOA Foundation with support from Dominion and PPG Industries.

Both camps are presented by the College of Engineering’s Women in Engineering Program and directed by Heidi Cressman.