Asee peer logo

Camp Gems (A Success Story)

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Outreach: Future Women in Engineering II

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.281.1 - 9.281.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Robert Ward

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3592

CAMP GEMS (A success story)

Prof. Laurie Laird, Dr. Robert Ward, P.E. Ohio Northern University


Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) is a 4-day, 3-night residential summer camp for girls entering the 7th or 8th grades. The camp was begun in 1996 at Ohio Northern University and has been held each summer for seven years. Its objectives have not changed over the years. These objectives have been for the campers to discover the fun of math and science, to develop critical thinking skills, to reduce math and science anxiety, to look at career options that use math and science, to provide an introduction to the profession of engineering, and to provide positive female role models.

The camp is limited to 48 girls, 6 groups of 8. The camp is multidisciplinary with university faculty from the areas of civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, technology and math all taking part as instructors for the many workshops. Because of our strong Pharmacy College, a pharmacy workshop has also been added. Each of the days is full, starting with their first workshop at 8 am, immediately after breakfast, and usually ending at 10 pm with recreation or speakers in the evenings. Each workshop typically runs 1 hour, but some are scheduled for one and one-half hours. Activities range from a bridge design competition to making bubble gum. The camp culminates with an awards banquet on Friday evening when the parents come to pick the girls up.

An integral part of the advertising and recruitment process has been the American Association of University Women branches across the state. The cost of the camp, which is $225, is covered for some of the girls by sponsorships provided by AAUW branches. There are normally two counselors per 8-person group who spend all day with the campers and even sleep in the residence halls with their group. These counselors are recruited from the female students on campus who are majoring in the areas of science, math, engineering, or pharmacy.

Surveys have been distributed to the parents of the first four years’ graduates of the camp – who have since graduated from high school. There was about a 44% response from these surveys. Results from these surveys on how Camp GEMS affected the girls’ decisions about high school courses and college majors are discussed in the paper.


Ohio Northern University (ONU) is a 3275 student, private, United Methodist affiliated, liberal arts university. The university is known for its solid educational programs and offers undergraduate majors in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration,

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Ward, R. (2004, June), Camp Gems (A Success Story) Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13939

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: © 2004 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