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HOUGHTON – Middle school students from Baraga and L’Anse are taking part in a special summer camp this week, focusing on engineering exploration.
In partnership with Michigan Tech, the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College STEM Outreach Department is going above and beyond for your typical summer camp. Today is part of a three week-long series of summer camps requested by the KBOCC. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, encourages students to be exposed to those respective fields at an early age.
“A lot of the things that Michigan Tech offers, in some respect, are still not attainable or even on the docket for some of these students,” said Karen Colbert, KBOCC Stem Outreach Coordinator. “So what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to bring something that they wouldn’t naturally say, ‘Oh, I want to be an engineer’ and bring it to the forefront of their minds and say, ‘I can do this. I know I can do this. This is an attainable goal to get an engineering degree.'”
“They’re getting exposed to a lot of different disciplines and a lot of possible career paths that they could choose,” said Joan Chadde, Director of the Center of Science and Environmental Outreach at MTU. “I think that’s very valuable at a time when they’re going to be deciding what classes to take in high school. They can really set themselves on a path to college and science and technology careers.”
The summer camp is funded by a 4-year U.S. Department of Education STEM education grant. Even if they don’t pursue careers in those types of fields, they’re learning some important life lessons.
“I think as we develop more and more here in the United States, we’re going to have more and more engineering problems,” said Bethany Klemetsrud, Post Occupant at MTU in the Sustainable Futures Institute. “We’re getting more solutions and what better way than to start having our youth think with this engineer mindset. We have a problem, what’s the solution? How are we going to use the tools we have to figure it out?”
The summer camp continues next week, with students learning about math and technology.