WISE Summer Engineering Camp for girls returns to SUNY New Paltz, July 31 – Aug. 4

SUNY New Paltz’s student-run Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) chapter will host the second annual Summer Engineering Camp for girls age 13-17, from July 31 – Aug. 4 at the New Paltz campus.

The WISE camp returns after a successful first year in 2016, this time with a curriculum that shifts from “STEM” to “STEAM” – that is, adding a creative Arts focus to traditional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math content.

The new approach is directly related to research done this year by WISE faculty director and Assistant Engineering Professor Reena Dahle.

Dahle recently worked with students Lori Jockers ’16 (Mechanical Engineering) and Alicia Scott ’17 (Mechanical Engineering) to examine the recent rise of female enrollment in computer, electrical and mechanical engineering majors, and how a growing number of those students are graduating with minors in fine and performing art disciplines.

Their paper argues that these students “graduate with a strong foundation in engineering and a hands-on practical understanding of materials, manufacturing, design and process.” The group presented their findings at the 2016 conference of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers for Women in Engineering.

Scott and Jockers also helped Dahle develop the curriculum for the first WISE summer camp, and Scott is returning as a counselor and mentor this year.

“I believe it’s important to introduce girls to STEAM as early as possible,” Scott said. “Middle and high school-aged girls in particular face so many challenges, and so it can be really valuable for them to have a place where they can explore STEAM topics while also building relationships with women already established in STEM fields, who are happy to answer questions and give encouragement.

“If I can help just one of our campers develop an interest in a STEAM field that she might have otherwise considered to be out of her reach, I will consider this camp to a huge success. We hope to empower as many girls as possible to go back to school in September motivated and excited about STEM/STEAM and eager to tackle as many challenges as they can.”

Tamara Ordonez Diaz ’17 (Mechanical Engineering), another WISE engineering student and summer camp counselor, has been helping add art concepts to this year’s program, and said she’s excited to see the results.

“Taking art classes as an engineer is very important because it allows you to see a problem and solve it in a completely different way,” she said. “In engineering you learn about the properties of the materials, while in art you learn about how to mold the materials and make something useful out of them. Having an understanding of both sides allows you to think outside the box and be more creative.”

This year’s WISE Summer Engineering Camp participants will be led by some of New Paltz’s finest engineering faculty and students, will have access to state of the art equipment at the newly-renovated Wooster Hall on campus, and will have opportunities to tour off-site facilities and meet with professional engineers in the Hudson Valley.

Registration for the WISE Summer Engineering Camp is $450. A limited number of scholarships are available. To learn more and register, please contact us at wisecamp@newpaltz.edu.