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Hands-on engineering summer camps expand in virtual classrooms

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 15, 2020

Coming up with creative ways to continue STEAM and STEM summer camps for middle and high school students was a challenge College of Lake County’s engineering department embraced. With the help of CLC student lab interns, the college facilitated five virtual engineering-focused summer camps. Camps range from materials experiments where you make a battery from pennies to building robots ready for competition.

Engineering student intern helping out with the robotics class

Pictured: This is a typical robot students build in the Robotics Challenge camps. Liah, an engineering student intern, is helping out with the class this week.

Since registration opened in spring, all seats filled quickly. Several scholarships funded by National Science Foundation and college Growth and Innovation grants were awarded to offset the cost of camp. The college even added an additional session of the Engineering Design and Prototype camp based on demand. Parents picked up small kits of supplies safely curbside at the college and their students tune in for live Zoom instruction. The college’s lab interns help answer questions and create social interactions so it’s a fun summer camp at home.

“People are looking for things to do because there are so many opportunities that are not available,” said engineering instructor and camp conductor Jan Edwards. She welcomes the opportunity to practice more creative virtual teaching in preparation for fall classes online. “Summer camps help us better understand student experience so we can learn what to adapt without the pressure of grading.”

Pet alligator experimentSeventy-eight percent of fall classes at CLC will be online. Faculty have focused on the transition to teaching hands-on lab work in a virtual environment so students can still be successful. Select classes, such as “How to Make Almost Anything,” are blended online learning and in-person at the college’s Baxter Innovation Lab.

Pictured: This pet alligator is an example of an experiment from Materials discovery where we measured growth rate and water absorption of a material.

Find out more about engineering classes this fall at an online information session on Tuesday, July 21 at 7 p.m. The online via Zoom session is for prospective students and their parents who are interested in the engineering transfer program at CLC, including the guaranteed transfer agreements with engineering programs at University of Illinois and Northern Illinois University.

The National Science Foundation Scholarship provides funding for students in computer science and engineering. The scholarship aims to build futures, community and opportunity for students in these fields in the form of scholarships up to $8,000 per student.

About College of Lake County:

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.