June 19, 2006
Summer camp introduces girls to engineering
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- With her strong interest in mathematics, Jessi Campos decided to visit Southern Illinois University Carbondale to learn more about the engineering field at one of the school's leading summer camp programs.
Campos, who will be a junior this fall at Cary-Grove High School, was one of 15 girls who attended the College of Engineering's Women in Engineering summer program. Using hands-on experiments, the five-day camp provides high school sophomores, juniors and seniors interested in science and math the chance to the learn more about the various engineering fields and SIUC. Another summer camp for 20 girls got under way on Sunday (June 18).
Activities during the week include math games, resolving engineering problems, rocket launches, building and racing hovercrafts, medical imaging and three-dimensional modeling. The group also toured an area auto parts manufacturer, plastic bottle manufacturer and boat manufacturer.
Exposing young girls to the various opportunities available in engineering is important, said associate dean Hasan Sevim. Nationwide, only 14 to 15 percent of engineers are women; at SIUC, about 11 percent of undergraduate engineering students are female. According to the National Association of College and Employers, starting salaries for 2005 engineering graduates averaged more than $55,000.
The program's main objective is to introduce basic engineering concepts: what engineering is, what engineers do, and the different types of engineering disciplines that are available, Sevim said. Each of the hands-on activities "is designed to introduce a combination of engineering disciplines," he said.
Jodi L. Kostecki earned her bachelor's degree in civil engineering in May from SIUC and is serving as a camp counselor. Kostecki, who is from Nashville, will pursue a master's degree at SIUC and received a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"Now that I've gone to school and seen the different types of disciplines I think a program like this is really important for girls who are interested in math and science and are considering engineering but don't really know what is out there," she said.
Programs such as the Women in Engineering summer camp help students define the differences between the engineering disciplines so students can fit them into their own areas of interest, Kostecki said. She and another instructor talked with girls one evening about options available in various engineering disciplines.
The camps also help girls realize "there are other girls out there who are just like them going into engineering. They aren't going to be stuck in a big class full of guys; they won't be alone," she said.
Seeing students attracted to the field and asking good questions during the camps is most enjoyable, Sevim said.
"That means we are doing our job and reaching our objective to get them interested," he said.
Offering education-related camps is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.
Week one camp participants were:
- Claire J. Vogel, daughter of Paul and Trudy Vogel (2808 Huntington Road), a junior at Normal Community High School. (Photo 3).
- Jessi Campos, daughter of Cristela Campos (60 Jefferson Lane), a junior at Cary-Grove High School. (Photo 1)
- Amy L. Winter, daughter of Dennis and Deanna Winter (1817 County Road 1200E), a junior at Carmi-White County High School.
- Kaitlin Chillson, daughter of Brad and Teresa Dobbs (302 S. Sycamore St.) and Sally and Kenneth Chillson, a junior at Centralia High School. (Photo 6)
- Meghan J. Ray, daughter of Fred and Christy Ray (706 N. Broadway), a senior at Havana High School.
- Bethany Scillufo, daughter of Bob and Sheila Scillufo (3 Timber Creek Drive), a senior at Herrin High School.
- Nicole Nellums, daughter of Melvin and Rochelle Nellums (749 Rohde Ave.), a junior at Westchester St. Joseph High School in Westchester. (Photo 7)
- Ashley E. Arnold, daughter of David and Denise Arnold (2407 Leverenz Road), a senior at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. (Photo 4)
- Callie M. Beard, daughter of Herschel and Candy Beard (633 Plum Lane), a senior at Wesclin High School in Trenton.
- Morgan C. Henry, daughter of Daniel and Laura Henry (17585 NCR 2700 East), a junior at Oakland High School.
Kathleen McCann, daughter of Michael and Patricia McCann (12857 S. Ponderosa Drive), a senior at Stagg High School.
Jennifer J. Leraaen, daughter of David and Annette Leraaen (920 North Timberlake Lane), a junior at Limestone High School in Bartonville. (Photo 5)
Elizabeth A. Notter, daughter of Steve and Phyllis Notter (304 East Shiloh Drive), a junior at Red Bud Community High School.
Ashley L. Brandt, daughter of John and Renee Brandt (921 Merrill New Road), a senior at Kaneland High School in Maple Park. (Photo 2)