- Associated Press - Monday, June 6, 2016

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A morning spent at iEngineering 2.0 summer camp is the “fastest four hours you’ll have on any summer day,” according to Kevin Williams.

The fifth annual iEngineering 2.0 is a half-day program that runs through June 13 at the Southern Indiana Career & Technical Center. Each day, between 10-15 high school volunteers serve as counselors for the 30 middle-school campers from five local counties.

The program is organized by SICTC teachers Williams and Andy Beadles. It focuses on topics related to engineering, manufacturing and architecture.

“It’s important to expose these students at an early age so they can find a career pathway that will help them be successful in the future,” Williams said.

During camp, students work on special projects and take field trips to Berry Plastics in Evansville and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana in Princeton. Students learn computer programs including CNC and CAD, VEX robotics, free flight planes and build corn hole boards. Each student also gets a customized action figure - a scan of his or her body, printed by a 3D printer - to take home.

The Vex robotics competition is new this year, Beadles said. He and Williams created the Trench Challenge, in which student-built robots need to pick up three different golf-ball-sized balls - one made of plastic, foam and an actual golf ball - and drop each into the correct trench.

Incoming North High School freshman Nathan Stippler is excited for competition.

“It shows how your team can work together,” Stippler, 15, said. “And it’s just fun competing against other people to try to win.”

The camp wouldn’t be possible without volunteer counselors, Williams said.

“Those counselors provide one-on-one expertise and help with these students, the campers,” he said. “They’re the ones that really make this go.”

Dawson McIntosh, 18, will be a senior in the fall at SICTC and New Tech Institute. He wanted to be a counselor to help younger kids excel.

“I’ve heard recently there’s been a need for engineering and engineering technology jobs,” he said. “And as the older generation does go into retirement, those places need to be filled, by who other than us?”

An incoming New Tech Institute senior, Claire Friona was a camper after she finished seventh grade.

Friona, 17, said it’s important to get more girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math pathways.

“That’s very important to me, as you can imagine,” she said. “This year there have been a ton more (girls), so that’s been really cool to see.”

Hannah Rosen, 13, has been home-schooled since fourth grade. The Evansville native thought it would be fun to learn more about engineering.

“I like how it kind of ties into art,” she said. “You can do both at the same time.”

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Source: Evansville Courier & Press, https://bit.ly/1srYmKc

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com


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