Minnesota high school juniors and seniors explore STEM-related career opportunities they didn’t know were available.
When Marissa Owens, a senior-to-be from Rosemount High School, started STEM camp, she knew she enjoyed science and math but wasn’t sure how to make a career of it.
“I hadn’t really figured anything out about engineering yet,” Owens said. “So it was interesting finding a new field that had both science and math combined.”
Dunwoody STEM camp fills the need for more science camps in Minnesota
Janet Nurnberg, Dunwoody Industrial Engineering Technology Program Manager, started STEM camp in 2015 after working with the advisory board for St. Paul Public Schools Project Lead the Way.
“In working with some of the local high school teachers the comment was that there’s just not enough STEM camps or opportunities for the students to be exposed to STEM topics in the summertime,” Nurnberg said.
Nurnberg attended a STEM camp while she was in high school, and it helped inform her decision for college. She wanted to give local high school students a similar opportunity.
And what better way to expose the students the career paths available to them than by introducing them to an on-the-job visit?
Boston Scientific offers students a look into life in industry
In addition to sponsoring the event, Boston Scientific hosted students on the first day of camp.
After touring the facilities and hearing from a panel of Boston Scientific employees about careers in industrial engineering, students were split into groups and tasked with solving real-world engineering problems.
In the first activity, students were asked to save the world from toxic waste by finding new and creative ways to transport the waste safely.
“It was fun to get the students thinking and trying to think outside the box,” Nurnberg said.
The second activity exposed the students to an age-old industrial engineering issue–process improvement. Students needed to find a way to speed up the food production of a small burger joint in order to keep up with a large fast food restaurant that had just opened up across the street.
“I really liked the Boston Scientific activities,” Owens said. “It gave me more insight on what industrial workers and engineers do on a daily basis.”
After a day at Boston Scientific, students spent the rest of camp in Dunwoody’s state-of-the-art labs for more hands-on activities.
Students manufacture a flashlight
For the remaining three days, students built a flashlight from the ground up, learning about all the people and technology involved in moving a product from design to production–and finally to sitting on display on store shelves.
The body of the flashlight was 3D-printed in the College’s Engineering Materials, Mechanics, and Metrology Lab. From there, students spent time in the Electronics Lab soldering the flashlight’s electrical components–made up of a small Arduino PLC. The students learned to program that PLC and also designed a custom battery cap in SolidWorks to hold the flashlight together.
Once the flashlight was manufactured and functioning, the students headed for the College’s packaging design facility to learn how to make a carton for their product using an Esko Kongsgerg V20 cutting table.
“My favorite part of the camp was the whole hands-on approach we took,” Mahtomedi High School student Brock Halverson said. “It was cool that we got to sit down and actually use some of the equipment that we would use later on.”
In addition to this flashlight project, students also learned about other opportunities in STEM like architecture, surveying, civil engineering, and software design.
Visit us on the web for more information about STEM camp and other summer activities for middle and high school students.