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Summer Engineering Camp Exposes Teens to Engineering Opportunities Through Old Dominion University

The first-ever summer engineering camp, hosted last month at Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology by the Virginia Applied Technology and Professional Development Center (VATPDC), was a big success - at least judging from the feedback received from parents of campers.

Patti Ball, program manager with VATPDC, said the campers, ages 11 to 15, spent a week experiencing what being an engineer means from many different perspectives.

"Each day our students had the opportunity to hear from at least one professional engineer, referred to us by local engineering societies, who shared with them what they do in their field, and what working in engineering means to them," Ball said.

Each day focused on different disciplines within engineering, including mechanical, aerospace, civil, marine and electrical. Several ODU faculty members were participants in both discussion and instruction in the university's labs.

At the end of the week, a "graduation" ceremony was conducted for the campers, complete with cake, certification and awards.

"The ODU admissions office joined us in welcoming this promising group of students and their families," Ball said. "We look forward to their success in their studies and hope to welcome them back to Old Dominion University as undergraduates in a few short years."

Comments sent by parents of the campers suggest that ODU may well see some of these promising students again.

"I just wanted to let you know my son thoroughly enjoyed the engineering camp last week. He cannot stop talking about it. We look forward to what you come up with for next summer," one parent wrote to Ball.

Another wrote, "My son had a blast last week. Every day he came home with stories of all the cool activities that took place."

Ball said the camp was "fortunate to have the services of not only several experienced teachers from both Norfolk and Virginia Beach, but also from the engineering community here on campus, and from our professional and military partners throughout the region who volunteered their time to assist us."

VATPDC hopes to build on the program's success next summer, enabling more students to be exposed to the world of engineering.

This article was posted on: September 17, 2009

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