MORGANTOWN — The Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at WVU will host two engineering camps this week.
There are a total of 14 camps and the two camps beginning Monday will deal with engineering and coding as well as engineering and action. The camps will focus on application development and teach students how to become more engineering-savvy.
Cate Schlobohm, K-12 outreach coordinator, said the focus of the camps is to get students interested in the field of engineering and eventually getting those students to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.
Schlobohm said getting students interested at the camps now, with many coding jobs opening up in the next few years, is important in preparing students for the job force.
It is the sixth year for the engineering camps, and Schlobohm said it is their biggest year, with more than 400 students expected. Schlobohm said when the camps first started, there were only 20 students who attended the series of camps.
Not only has the number of students interested in the camps grown, the percentage of females attending is up also, according to Schlobohm.
“We’ve seen huge growth. I think more people are learning that engineering isn’t a scary field,” Schlobohm said. “We’ve seen a lot more growth in females attending camps, so this year we are 41 percent female, which is bigger than ever before. We’re finding topics for camps that are more interesting to people and showing a diverse side of engineering.”
The camps have many sponsors that help make sure campers reach their full potential, according to Schlobohm. It’s co-sponsored by EQT and the Statler College and also sponsored in part by Halliburton, Eaton, Chevron, Assurant and Northeast Natural Energy.
“We do have a lot of sponsors who help make this possible,” Schlobohm said. “We want to thank them for valuing engineering education.”
The camps are not specifically narrowed down to the engineering aspect and Schlobohm said she looks for students who hold an interest in the STEM field entirely.
“We just look for students who have an interest in engineering or the STEM field as a whole,” Schlobohm said. “We will teach them the engineering design process and give them some really basic problem-solving skills.”
Schlobohm said the main skills they want to teach the students are basic problem-solving as well as design skills.
“They’re not going to be learning hardcore engineering principles while they’re here over a week, but they are going to learn how to approach a problem and how to come up with creative solutions to solve that problem,” Schlobohm said.
Schlobohm wants students to be able to learn that the field of engineering has many options.
“The thing that I want them to take away from each camp is that there’s a lot of opportunity in this field and there’s a lot of different pathways to get to where they want to be,” Schlobohm said. “I want them to understand it’s a really broad field.”
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