High School Students Explore Engineering At CU-Boulder Success Institute

Published: July 9, 2006

Twenty-eight high school students with a curiosity for math, science and technology will take a break from the swimming pool and head back to the classroom this week for a summer camp that brings engineering to life.

Spending five days and four nights on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus for the Success Institute, the incoming 11th and 12th graders will learn engineering concepts and design, build and test their own fully functioning audio speakers. Hands-on projects also will introduce them to laser cutting and soldering using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.

The students will attend a laser cutting and soldering workshop July 10 from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the basement of the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, and design and build their audio speakers July 12 from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in ITLL rooms 150 and 160.

The students -- mainly females, minority students and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds -- came from schools in the Denver, St. Vrain Valley and Boulder Valley school districts for the overnight camp, which is designed to foster their interest in the field of engineering and to show that college is a real option for each of them.

Students pay just $50 for the program, which is sponsored by the Integrated Teaching and Learning Laboratory, Multicultural Engineering Program and Women in Engineering Program as part of an effort to recruit and retain students traditionally underrepresented in engineering at CU-Boulder.

This year's Success Institute students also will visit IBM and Lexmark for tours and interaction with engineering professionals, and explore research at CU through visits to the Society of Automotive Engineers' Formula race car lab and earthquake engineering lab.

A second Success Institute for 9th and 10th graders will be held later this month as a weeklong day camp in the cutting-edge classrooms of the Denver School of Science and Technology.

That camp, scheduled for July 24 to July 28, will engage more than 50 high school students in the building of a miniature solar town. On July 26 the students will visit the CU-Boulder campus, touring and participating in hands-on engineering challenges with university faculty and students.

MEP co-director Anthea Johnson Rooen said in addition to providing a fun, educational summer opportunity, the Success Institute strives to educate students and parents about college opportunities and the things they can do to ensure college acceptance and success. Parents of Success Institute students are required to attend a closing ceremony packed with information on keeping their students on track in high school and applying for college and financial aid.

Organizers of the Success Institute said a deluge of late applications this summer forced the program to turn away several interested students, but its popularity could result in an expansion of the highly affordable, educational camp next year.

For more information visit successinstitute.colorado.edu.