CU-Boulder To Host New STEM Camp Featuring Bridge Building, Boats And Sudoku Scavenger Hunt

July 30, 2007

The Multicultural Engineering Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder will host the second of three Western summer camps aimed at expanding educational opportunities for Hispanic students interested in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

The camps are the first project of the Hispanic Alliance for STEM Opportunities, a partnership formed earlier this year by the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference and IBM.

Forty ninth- and 10th-graders from the Denver metro area will come to CU-Boulder Aug. 1 through Aug. 4 for the camp, called "SciTech 2020." The students were identified by Colorado MESA, a nonprofit organization working with CU to put on the camp.

The students, who are paying a fee of only $10 thanks to financial support from IBM, will stay overnight in campus residence halls and spend four days engaged in hands-on math, engineering and science activities. The students will participate in various mini-competitions for prizes and awards, and will go on a tour of the IBM facilities in Boulder.

Faculty at CU-Boulder, the University of Arizona and California State University, which also are hosting camps this summer, jointly developed the camp curriculum.

Organizers plan to invite the students back to participate in subsequent camps throughout their high school years and will track each camper's academic progress to assess the number of camp alumni who graduate from high school, apply and are accepted to college, and choose to major in STEM-related disciplines.

"We want to determine if what we have theorized is actually true - that reaching out early to young people who truly enjoy math and science classes will motivate them to pursue an education and career in a STEM-related field," said Diana Gomez, president of the board of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Hispanics made up 13.1 percent of the labor force in 2005, but only 3 percent of natural scientists, 5.3 percent of math and computer scientists and 5.8 percent of engineers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

MEP Co-director Anthea Johnson Rooen said CU-Boulder is very pleased to host the event. "It's a great opportunity for us to showcase our campus and to collaborate with other organizations," Rooen said.

CU-Boulder also hosts the Success Institute, a program founded in 1998 that reaches out to students underrepresented in engineering with hands-on activities designed to motivate them to pursue their interests in math, science or engineering.

For more information about the Multicultural Engineering Program at CU-Boulder, go to engineering.colorado.edu/MEP/.

Schedule Highlights

Bridge Building and Structure Testing - Students will build bridges using Popsicle sticks to support weight of up to 200 lbs. on Wednesday, Aug. 1, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., in ITLL 160 of the Engineering Center; testing to follow during the evening hours.

Sudoku Scavenger Hunt and Boat Building Challenge - Students will follow puzzle clues leading them from the Engineering Center to supplies that they will use to construct and test a boat. The event will occur on Friday, Aug. 3, from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., starting at the Engineering Center and continuing at the Student Recreation Center swimming pool

Awards Luncheon - Students and their parents will attend an awards celebration at the camp's conclusion on Saturday, Aug. 4, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Stadium Club. The entrance is on the east side of Folsom Field.

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