College of Engineering invites future innovators to annual Summer Academy

The Wayne State University College of Engineering will welcome more than 500 elementary, middle and high school students to its campus from June through August for the 2019 Summer Academy. This robust series of engineering and computer science camps, offered to students aged 7 to 17, aims to inspire the next generation of innovators that will revolutionize industries, stimulate the economy, enhance the country’s global competitiveness, and revitalize and sustain the local community.

The Summer Academy introduces pre-college students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) resources. It is comprised of one-week, age-appropriate sessions geared toward students’ varied interests and strengths. Common threads between all of the camps include opportunities for students to build confidence and work outside of their comfort zones, get ideas for potential careers, and maintain a level of productivity that curbs summer learning loss.

“STEM is one of the fastest-growing areas of the U.S. economy, and engineering and computer science have emerged as top majors for high school seniors,” said Jasmine Roberson, director of community engagement and outreach program specialist for the College of Engineering. “Wayne State University plays a key role in keeping up with the demand for — and shortage of — new skills and technologies, as well as closing industry gaps for females and other underrepresented groups.”

Students aged 7 to 9 will gain basic proficiency in STEM through classes in such domains as coding, game design and movie making, while participants aged 10 to 12 will be introduced to areas that include web design, photography and robotics. The Summer Academy is particularly valuable for students in the latter age group that want to improve performance in STEM subjects or get a head start on preparing to transition to high school.

An abundance of options for students aged 13 to 17 — who will undoubtedly benefit from a glimpse of life on a college campus — include cyber security, construction technology and biomedical engineering.

“Besides having an abundance of career options, young people proficient in STEM understand the world around them in a logical way guided by the principals of scientific thought,” said Roberson. “The Summer Academy has proved an invaluable pathway for heightening interest in engineering and computer science among young people, who often return to Wayne State or other institutions to pursue degrees.”

Partnerships with such industry leaders as DTE, Ford Motor Company, Google, General Motors and Microsoft bolster the program’s offerings. The success of the Summer Academy is also aided by collaboration with the educational community including K-12 schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, government entities and other campus programs.

College of Engineering students, alumni, faculty and staff, along with industry professionals, lead groups as large as 20 to 25 learners through the various modules and provide valuable mentorship. These leaders are often volunteers motivated by a passion for learning and discovery as well as a desire to energize future Warriors and young people in Detroit and surrounding communities.

“The Summer Academy immerses students in the campus community,” said Roberson. “Students will take classes in college environments, eat in the residence hall, and walk the campus daily.”

Roberson also noted the opportunities to interact with people from unique backgrounds while improving cognitive skills, problem solving and teamwork.

“Students will ultimately be better prepared to succeed in an emerging workforce that is more diverse and dynamic,” said Roberson.

Registration for the 2019 Summer Academy is ongoing. Each session is $350 and students may be registered for multiple sessions. Campers receive a t-shirt, backpack, lanyard, and water bottle, and will have lunch provided daily. A demonstration day that includes presentations and a certificate ceremony is held at the conclusion of each program.


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