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Summer camp promotes diversity, inspires future Buckeye engineers

Nearly 50 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the state of Ohio got to experience life as Buckeye engineers during this summer’s RISEng STARS camp.

Hosted by the College of Engineering’s Office of Diversity, Outreach and Inclusion (DOI), the five-day residential camp exposes students to the wide array of engineering majors offered at The Ohio State University, as well as the related careers and general college life.

A group of female campersCampers engaged in a variety of hands-on activities including a “smart lighting” electrical circuit project and a group challenge to package eggs optimally for safe transportation, which instructors connected to the real world scenario of engineering safe vehicles for people.

Participants also got the chance to visit numerous engineering labs and research centers on campus for workshops with current students and faculty.

Coordinated by DOI’s Minority Engineering Program and Women in Engineering, RISEng STARS aims to increase the number of females and underrepresented minorities in the field.

“These experiences help the campers visualize themselves in those roles as a college student, future engineer or faculty member. This is especially powerful when those current engineering student volunteers and faculty and staff that help facilitate the camp look like the participants,” said Olga Stavridis, assistant director of the Women in Engineering program.

Additionally, the camp featured student panels and advice on applying to college, how to study and filing for financial aid. Fun social and recreational activities were included too, as part of the full undergraduate experience.

“We hope that they love Ohio State and have a lot of fun while they’re here, but the primary goal for sure is to not only see what engineering is as a profession, but also the different types and maybe which one they get the most excited about so they have a leg up going into college,” said current welding engineering student and camp volunteer Emily Flitcraft.

According to the high school campers, mission accomplished.

“I knew I wanted to be an engineer, but I wasn’t completely sure which field I wanted to go into,” said rising high school senior Ashley Pratt of Maineville, Ohio. “The camp was awesome because we got to be hands on and actually go into the labs. I found out I really like welding engineering. We got to weld things together with a laser, which is something I never thought I would do, period, much less in this camp! I think I have a much harder decision to make now.”

RISEng STARS is sponsored by GM Foundation and Delphi Automotive.

by Meggie Biss, College of Engineering Communications | biss.11@osu.edu