Not your mother's summer camp
By Jessie Bazan, communication junior
Photo by Ben Smidt
Campers Daniel Stemper and Kristen Abram take a break from their afternoon camp activities in Engineering Hall.
Twenty high school students (10 girls, 10 boys) from around the country recently descended on campus for a week of summer camp fun — minus the bonfires and bugs.
Campers from coast to coast found their way to the Engineering Explorers camp through word of mouth, Google searches, and a blog for gifted and talented students. They were drawn to the program because of the university's academic reputation and unique opportunity to experience life as a college engineer, including living in the residence halls — a first for Marquette's high school engineering camps.
"They're getting a number of experiences that should broaden their thinking about engineering and hopefully get them thinking about Marquette," says Dr. Jon Jensen, associate dean for enrollment management, who adds that at least 36 former campers are now enrolled at the university. In Engineering Hall's state-of-the-art laboratories, camp activities included taking apart Harley-Davidson motorcycle engines and constructing a T-shirt launcher. All activities were intended to broaden students' exposure to the vast array of engineering opportunities.
"Throughout the week, we've been introduced to different fields of engineering," says Daniel Stemper, a high school junior from Pennsylvania. "We went out on the highway to see some of the civil engineering and have been able to meet some of the professors from different branches of the engineering programs to get an idea of what each one is like."
Indeed, one of the major benefits of attending this camp was the opportunity to learn from top experts in the field, like Dr. Kris Ropella, chair of the Biomedical Engineering Department. Kristen Abram, a Texas high school junior, says spending the week with Marquette's esteemed professors "humanized" them.
"They seem like normal people who do normal things, but they are just really smart," she says.
As with any good summer camp, there was plenty of time for fun outside the classroom as well. During the week, the group explored Milwaukee — taking in a Brewers game, Discovery World and Bradford Beach.
Overall, Lori Stempski — part of the college's outreach team — couldn't be happier with how this first Engineering Explorers residential camp turned out.
"We threw 20 kids together who had no idea about the other person, and yet they're all friends now," Stempski says. "It was just awesome to see."