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Reaching Future Students with STEM Summer Camps

Track Room Location: H137, Heritage Hall (Collin College's Preston Ridge campus)

PLEASE NOTE that this track has been cancelled. The other three tracks are still available.

Learn the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of planning and conducting successful STEM Summer Camps. This session will use existing programs to provide a framework and resources for you to design your own STEM Summer Camps and Workshops. Discuss materials, costs, equipment, recruiting and other aspects of camp planning and production.



Elizabeth Halweg is employed by Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton Wisconsin. The college provides high quality learning experiences to enhance the lives of the students and the economic development of Northeast Wisconsin. Elizabeth holds a MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Vocational and Technical Education and a BS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Management Information Systems. After 20 years of work experience in the Telecommunications field, she is now an instructor of Information Technology at Fox Valley Technical College and has been there since August of 2000.

As a strong proponent of STEM education, Elizabeth started the GirlTech summer camp at Fox Valley Technical College to expose young girls to STEM technologies. In 2008, Elizabeth became involved with the Convergence Technology Center as a Mentored College and now supports the National CTC as a Convergence College Network (CCN) board member and Co-PI on the National CTC grant. Elizabeth is committed to meeting established targeted goals in expansion of the CCN to 60 members and the virtual delivery of high-demand converged technology courses.


David Keathly received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State University and is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of North Texas. After 20 years of experience in developing military and commercial products, including a patent in image processing, as well as adjunct faculty assignments at Collin County Community College and the UT-Dallas, he joined the faculty in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of North Texas as a Lecturer and Undergraduate Advisor in the Fall of 2004. He is now a Prinicpal Lecturer in the same department.

David was an SGA Honors Professor in 2005 and has received the Outstanding Student Advisor award from the Student Life Office, and a Meritorious Service Award from the College of Engineering Industrial Advisory Council. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and is the faculty advisor for the IEEE Computer Society Student Chapter, the UNT Robotics Society and the UNT Programming Teams, in addition to his involvement with various recruiting and retention programs. David is also Co-Director of the RoboCamp summer program for middle and high school students.


Why do you want to host a summer camp?
Benefits to participants – specific objectives
Benefits to the school hosting the event
Benefits to the community

Planning your camp

  • Age – what will be the age/grade limitations?
  • Gender – consider a girls-only option for middle and high-school students
  • Race – grant funding may be available for targeted populations

What will be the theme for your camp?

  • Science sampler
  • Week-long project (design & build a robot, make a model race car, etc.)
  • Theme-based activities (computer science, biology, aerospace, etc.)

Resources for ideas

  • PBS (SciGirls, Design Squad)
  • National Girls Collaborative Project
  • NASA
  • Lego Education
  • Hobby store science kits


  • Costs
  • Printing/advertising
  • Staffing
  • Supplies
  • Hospitality/snacks
  • T-shirts/name tags


  • How much to charge participants (Youth camps range in price from free/low cost to several hundred dollars per week; Consider offering financial assistance to low-income families)
  • Seek our partnerships (In-kind donations of supplies; Volunteer instructors/staff; Look for grant opportunities)

Finding staff/volunteers

  • Network to find resources from local businesses
  • Ask instructors from your institution
  • Partner with other schools or community organizations

Advertising your camp to prospective participants

  • Posters/flyers (Distribute to local schools - both public & private; Post around campus; Local businesses/buildings that have bulletin boards (churches, chiropractic offices, grocery stores, YMCA, library, etc.)
  • Email (Past participants; Area high school and middle school counselors; Contacts from local youth organizations: Girl/Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, homeschool networks, etc.)
  • Website (
  • Publications (Newspaper article; School course guide; School magazine)
  • Other (Radio stations; Online community events calendars; Community events (booth at science fairs, summer activities fair, etc.); Outdoor signs on campus)
  • Word of mouth – this is often the most effective means of recruitment!

Tips for event planning
Selecting the dates:

  • Check local school district calendar for dates of regular session and for summer school
  • Research other community events/camps (what else might conflict?)


  • Make room reservations as needed
  • Consider facility needs such as table space, A/V requirements, outlets, etc.
  • Is there sufficient parking? Will staff need parking permits?

Food (if snacks are going to be provided):

  • Try to focus on healthier but kid-friendly options like muffins, string cheese, fresh fruit, chips & salsa
  • Offer a variety of choices and be considerate of participants with food allergies or limitations (Many children in middle/high school have braces and aren’t supposed to eat excessively hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Also, many schools and daycares now have no peanut policies, since this is such a common allergen.)


  • Consider drop off/pick up procedures (require a grownup to accompany students to/from the main meeting room each day). Call unexcused no-shows.
  • Have emergency contact numbers/special needs/allergy information readily available should staff need it
  • Provide safety equipment as needed (safety glasses, gloves, etc.)
  • Require that students wear appropriate clothing in lab/manufacturing environments (close-toed shoes, long hair tied back, etc.)
  • Make sure activities are age-appropriate

Sample Forms to Use

  • Robo Camp
  • GirlTech
  • Sample Labs you can use today

Course Documents

track_1.txt · Last modified: 2018/10/31 13:12 by admin