Asee peer logo

A Robotics Summer Camp for High School Students: Pipelines Activities Promoting Careers in Engineering Fields

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

K-12 Robotics

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.98.1 - 23.98.18



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Mehmet Ayar TUBITAK

visit author page

Dr. Mehmet C. Ayar is a scientific programs expert in the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). He received his PhD. in Curriculum and Instruction with specialization in STEM education at Texas A&M University in 2012. His research is in ethnographic studies of science and engineering practice, curriculum development, design of learning environments and robotics activities. He offers a graduate course in METU on communities of practice. Dr. Ayar worked for the Live Energy Project during his PhD studies at Texas A&M University. Prior to his PhD studies, he worked for three years as a science teacher at a private school in Turkey.

visit author page


Bugrahan Yalvac Texas A&M University

visit author page

Bugrahan Yalvac is an associate professor of science education in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Culture at Texas A&M University, College Station. He received his Ph.D. in science education at the Pennsylvania State University in 2005. Prior to his current position, he worked as a learning scientist for the VaNTH Engineering Research Center at Northwestern University for three years. Yalvac’s research is in STEM education, 21st century skills, and design and evaluation of learning environments informed by the How People Learn framework.

visit author page


Fatih Ugurdag Ozyegin University

visit author page

Dr. H. Fatih Uğurdağ, a former veteran of Silicon Valley, received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Electrical Engineering & Applied Physics in 1995. He received a BS in Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE) as well as a BS in Physics from Bosporus University in 1986. He went to CWRU as a TA and did an MS thesis on machine vision (finished in 1989) and a PhD dissertation on parallel HW design. He worked in the industry in the USA non-stop between 1989-2004 at companies such as GE, GM, Lucent, Juniper, and Nvidia as a machine vision engineer, EDA software developer, and chip designer. Later (2005-2010) he was a faculty member at Bahçeşehir University in the EEE Dept. and then in Computer Engineering. He is also a consultant at Vestek Pixellence R&D group of Vestel in ITU Technopark (since May 2007). Dr. Uğurdağ occasionally serves as an adjunct faculty member at Bosporus University and has ongoing funded research projects jointly conducted with Bosporus. His research interests span the areas of ASIC/SOC/FPGA design/automation, embedded systems, machine vision, educational software/web tools, and intelligent transportation systems.

visit author page

author page

Alpaslan Sahin Texas A&M University

Download Paper |


A ROBOTICS SUMMER CAMP FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS: LEARNING ABOUT ENGINERING DESIGN AT FIRST HAND AND CAREER INTEREST IN ENGINEERINGThis study discusses the lived-experiences and engineering interests of 27 high school studentswho participated in a two-week Robotics summer camp in 2012. The summer camp wasdesigned by a team of engineering faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in order toprovide the high school students with the opportunity to play and work with the materials todesign a robot, build it, test it, and re-design it. A secondary purpose of the camp was to helpstudents determine their career choice in the engineering fields before higher education.The participants included twelve 11 graders and fifteen 12 graders. Four out of 27 participantswere female. The participating 27 students were selected according to (a) their contentquestionnaire scores administered to 145 students in 34 different locations (b) personal interestessays, and (c) phone interviews. Three out of 27 students had some previous experience withRobotics activities through after-school programs at their high school. Two students from atechnical vocational high school had attended the similar camp before. Three students came fromdifferent private high schools. Only one student has been attending an international school. Theremaining was from public high schools where the mathematics and science courses are largelytaught.The camp provided the students with theoretical background through (a) a computerprogramming course, (b) a basic electronics course, and (c) proteus, pic, and microC training.The students in groups of two were motivated to design, build, test, and modify their robotsthrough practical implementations. They were given a variety of challenges in each practicalimplementation and were expected to pass each challenge to master; therefore, they could beable to compete with the other groups in the camp. In the camp, invited researchers presentedabout their research and interest in Robotics and showed interdisciplinary perspectives ofRobotics activities in the field (e.g., cardiovascular surgery). Also the students attended otherextracurricular activities (e.g., a field trip to Ford company).Study data were collected through interviews, field notes, and observations. The analysis of thequalitative data indicated that the camp increased the students’ interest in engineering and helpedthem determine specific engineering fields that they wish to study in their academic career. Ourobservations revealed that the participating students engaged in activities with a community ofengineers and gained first hand and original engineering design experience, which in turn helpedthem understand what the field looks like, what they can do in the future if they selectengineering as a career option, and how they can use engineering practices in other disciplines.Most of the students were interested in engineering throughout their school years; however,activities offered at their schools were limited to technical knowledge. They were rarely engagedin practical activities to bolster their passion in engineering. Their personal interest and familysupport were the keys to sustain their interest toward engineering even though high-stakeuniversity exams were limiting the practical engagements of engineering activities. In ourpresentation, we will be describing the camp-learning environment context (activities,collaboration, and student-to-student and mentor-to-student interactions) in more details andreport how the students’ experiences influenced their career selection and perseverance inengineering.

Ayar, M., & Yalvac, B., & Ugurdag, F., & Sahin, A. (2013, June), A Robotics Summer Camp for High School Students: Pipelines Activities Promoting Careers in Engineering Fields Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19112

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2013 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015