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Creating Pathways to Engineering through Sponsored Summer Camps

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2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD)


Arlington, Virginia

Publication Date

February 25, 2024

Start Date

February 25, 2024

End Date

February 27, 2024

Conference Session

Track 4: Technical Session 1: Creating Pathways to Engineering through Sponsored Summer Camps

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

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Paper Authors


Racheida S Lewis University of Georgia Orcid 16x16

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Racheida S. Lewis, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia in the Engineering Education Transformations Institute (EETI) and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Dr. Lewis believes in creating a diverse engineering field and strives to do so through connecting with teaching, and mentoring future engineers. She has devoted her life to this mission through her leadership and lifetime membership in the National Society of Black Engineers. Ultimately, Dr. Lewis aspires to bridge together research and pedagogy within the academy to improve engineering education within the field and across disciplines.

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Stephan A. Durham University of Georgia

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Dr. Stephan A. Durham serves as the Assistant Dean for Student Success and Outreach of the College of Engineering and Professor of Civil Engineering. Since joining academia in 2005, Dr. Durham graduated over 40 MS and Ph.D. students in the area of structural engineering, concrete materials, sustainability, and construction management. He has performed past studies for multiple Departments of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and private industry. He has received numerous awards international, national, state, and institutional awards in teaching, research, and service. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in structural materials, construction management, reinforced and prestressed concrete design, and advanced concrete materials. His exceptional research contributions include innovative concrete materials and mixtures, infrastructure asset management, design and evaluation of pavements, non-destructive testing, and evaluation of construction practices. Dr. Durham is also renowned for his leadership in ASCE, including his service as legislative contact and advocacy captain for the State of Georgia and appointment to the Society Transportation Policy Committee. He is currently a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Georgia.

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Alison Leigh Banka University of Georgia Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Alison Banka is a Lecturer in the School of Chemical, Materials, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Georgia. Her current educational and research interests include the incorporation of professional skills (such as teamwork and industry-relevant types of technical communication) and active learning into core engineering courses.

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In 2022, the [blinded for review] received funding from [blinded for review] to support two week-long residential summer camps catered to broadening participation in engineering. The two camps, [blinded for review] which aims to improve racial diversity in engineering, and [blinded for review] which aims to improve gender diversity in engineering are taught by College of Engineering faculty who design and implement the week-long curriculum. Since their inception, these camps have hosted 90 high school students.

Students are selected from an application process that is graded on the criteria of financial need, interests in engineering, and the perceived impact participating in the camp will have on their future. Applications were graded by the camp’s lead faculty member, the Assistant Dean for Student Success & Outreach, and the Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and applicants’ final scores were determined by averaging the individual scores of the graders. In 2022, each camp hosted 20 participants while in 2023 each camp included 25 participants. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the offering of these camps with [blinded for review] having ~375 applicants (70 in 2022 and 305 in 2023) to date and [blinded for review] having ~120 applicants to date (46 in 2021 and 72 in 2023).

Each of the camps provides participants with room and board for the week they are on campus, supplies for camp participation, swag, and evening activities such as movies, swimming, bowling, and more. The [blinded for review] has a strong emphasis on Electrical and Computer Engineering topics and the [blinded for review] has a strong emphasis on Environmental and Chemical Engineering topics. Each of the camps hosts daily lunch and learns where current engineering professionals speak to participants about their careers. On the last day of the camps, there is a social presentation to invited faculty and staff of what participants learned throughout the week.

The goal of this presentation is to share the successes of these camps thus far and engage in a discussion with the broader engineering education community on improvements and potential collaborations moving forward.

Lewis, R. S., & Durham, S. A., & Banka, A. L. (2024, February), Creating Pathways to Engineering through Sponsored Summer Camps Paper presented at 2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD), Arlington, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--45439

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