Engineering Insights Summer Program
2009 Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings
Engineering insights (Ei) Summer Camp is a recruitment program for the College of Engineering (COE). This program is a 4 day, 3 night residential summer camp for high school juniors and seniors that has been operating for 4 years. The primary goals of the camp are: 1) introducing participants to engineering as a career choice, and 2) encouraging them to pursue a baccalaureate degree in engineering at our university. In summer 2008, an evaluation was collected at the end of each of three camps.
... his paper will discuss the general strategy of the camp, provide an overview of the experiential learning projects, and report evaluation results from admissions data and surveys collected from summer 2008 camps. In all of the recruitment programs for the college, great effort is made to attract traditionally underrepresented groups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and women. A large part of our recruitment plan involves the use of targeted high-achieving majority-minority schools. These schools were heavily recruited for participants in the camps. A total of 163 high school students participated, with 46 coming from the targeted schools. The participants included 109 (67%) males and 54 (33%) females. The ethnicity breakdown included 16 (10%) African Americans, and 32 (20%) Hispanics. While not reflecting the demographics of the Texas high school population, this breakdown is more diverse than the 2007 COE enrollment numbers. The camp agenda included tours/demonstrations with each of the engineering departments, and team design projects. For the design projects, the participants were divided into teams of 4 or 5 and assigned to 1 of 3 design projects. The projects included: design and assessment of a solar car, a laser communication system, and industrial fabrication optimization modeling. The camp culminated in a design competition on the last day, judged by faculty and research engineers. Evaluation results presented in this paper indicate that the camp clearly had a positive impact on the participants' impression of engineering in general, with 99% of participants indicating that the camp had improved their knowledge of engineering careers and the differences in the engineering disciplines. In addition, 86% of the participants indicated that they were more likely to study engineering after coming to the camp. The design projects were shown to be excellent tools to engage the students and pique their interest in engineering. This fact is indicated by the high marks (mean of 4.2 on a 5 point Likert-type scale) received by all the projects. The departmental tours were also evaluated as useful (mean of 4.1 on a 5 point Likert-type scale, although comments revealed some room for improvement. The Engineering insights summer camp is an effective tool to interest prospective students in the University, with an average of 66% of the participants applying. More than half of the participants (an average of 67%) that applied were admitted to the COE, and an average of 67% of the participants that were admitted to the COE, actually enrolled in the COE.