UTPA Report: STEP camp

UTPA Report: STEP camp

POSTED: Friday, July 19, 2013 - 10:20am

UPDATED: Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 10:16am

Many middle and high school students will have a better idea what they want to study in college thanks to several summer camps taking place on the UTPA campus focused on science, technology, engineering and math. Here's Sandra Quintanilla with this week's News Center 23 report.

Curious, excited, fascinated...These are just some of the words that describe the reactions of these middle school students as they take part in the annual Striving Towards Educational Pathways or STEP at The University of Texas-Pan American. The four-day camp brought in more than 60 boys and girls from Idea Public Schools for a chance to learn from UT Pan Am students and professors about science, technology, engineering and math and other STEM related fields available at the University that could lead to exciting, high paying careers. Two recent UTPA engineering graduates are helping coordinate the events. They say it's crucial to reach out to this age group and raise awareness of the opportunities in STEM.

Samantha Mendez, UTPA Engineering Graduate, "It s good at an early age they get an idea of what they want to be and if we can make them think they want to go to engineering and to inspire them to motivate them to go, that’s the big picture of behind it."

Chris Garza, UTPA Engineering Graduate, "We hope for them to learn more about STEM and explore the field of engineering looking at the fun side of it. We try not to lecture too much, not to bore them so we try to keep it fun, keep them active, keep them working on the projects."

The students participated in several hands-on activities which included building ergonomic cars and hydraulic arms as well as designing their own virtual worlds through gaming.

Samantha Mendez, UTPA Engineering Graduate, "You get to actually impact the lives of a lot of people by being an engineer so we want them to learn and to see that they can achieve that in the future and that there is help. There’s a lot or resources that they can use in the future for studying engineering."

The UTPA students and alums enjoyed interacting and sharing their knowledge with the youngsters. They represented university chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Institution of Electronics and Electrical Engineers and the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists.

Crisela Paz, IDEA Student, "They tell you like it doesn't matter if you fail, it's okay and it's fun cause we work in teams."
Organizers hope the camp will give students a taste of what engineering is all about and spark a desire to pursue higher education and careers in STEM. I'm Sandra Quintanilla reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.


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