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Engineering Summer Institute Offers High Schoolers Taste of Growing Field

August 1, 2022
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A group of high school and middle school students explored ever-expanding STEM careers during Anderson University’s first Engineering Summer Institute.

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The Anderson University College of Engineering just completed its first Engineering Summer Institute. Funding was provided in part by the Bosch Community Fund, the corporate foundation for Bosch in North America.

The Summer Engineering Institute is a week-long opportunity to expose middle and high school students to fast-growing fields where the pay is high and jobs are very much in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are outpacing the available supply of qualified talent. 

The Summer Engineering Institute took place July 11-15 at Anderson University and the Anderson Institute of Technology. A total of 24 campers from middle school and high school learned engineering hands-on while interacting with College of Engineering faculty and engineering professionals currently working in the field. 

Students explored various engineering disciplines (i.e. Biosystems Engineering, Electrical Engineering, General Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering) as well as fun social and recreational opportunities and a chance to sample college life. There were also tours of facilities at Bosch and Ryobi, where students could see the cutting-edge technology used by these top global manufacturers in their Upstate South Carolina plants.

The students learned about many applications that involve the use of drones at Rocky River Nature Park, located on the edge of the Anderson University campus. Using imagery captured by drones and thermal cameras, they analyzed the impact of heat and water levels on plants. While many of the students had flown drones, most were unaware of how powerful a research tool they could actually be. 

Students also learned about working as a design team while collaborating on CAD design software. With a 3D printer, they designed, fabricated and assembled parts to make a cell phone holder they could keep. They also did some virtual and physical bridge building exercises using trusses. Awards were handed out to the lowest-cost functional bridge as well as the bridge with the largest force-to-mass ratio. 

Engineering professor Dr. Ryan Karkkainen, who has a background in automotive safety engineering from Ford Motor Company, led a session focusing on designing for safety in a motor vehicle. Students then took what they learned and formed teams to create safe enclosures for their passenger, an egg. The integrity of their designs was put to the test by dropping them from different heights. Awards were handed out to the team that designed a safe enclosure for their passenger and weighed the least. There was also an award for the team that had the most creative and safe design. 

The Engineering Summer Institute concluded with final presentations of projects and an awards ceremony. The Engineering Summer Institute teaches students valuable soft skills experience as they collaborate with one another in teams and present their ideas to an audience. 

The Anderson University College of Engineering

A defining trait for the Anderson University College of Engineering is its distinctiveness in providing a comprehensive engineering education that combines a liberal arts tradition within a Christian worldview. Students of the College experience the integration of faith and learning as the principles of engineering are taught within a Christian worldview. Details about the Anderson University College of Engineering can be found online at /academics/engineering.

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