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Engineering Summer Camps: Do They Increase Engineering Enrollments?

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Pre-College Initiatives in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.507.1 - 8.507.8



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Paper Authors

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Pauline Sexton

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Monique Wade

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Bevlee Watford

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

Session 2253

Do Engineering Summer Camps Increase Engineering Enrollments?

Pauline L. Sexton, Bevlee A. Watford, Monique M. Wade

Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA 24061


This paper examines the influence that an engineering, science, and math based camp has on the future academic decisions of middle school students (specifically rising eighth and ninth graders). IMAGINATION, formerly known as the Academic Enrichment Camp (AEC), is a day camp provided for the local area by Virginia Tech and the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity. This outreach to the surrounding communities by the University allows for students to participate in a week long educational experience.

The data collection procedure consists of a subjective questionnaire sent to past camp participants. Targeted cohorts were the 1995-1998 campers. There were two one week sessions each summer, each having approximately twenty to thirty participants. These cohort years were chosen based on the quality of the contact information that was available and the assumed progress of these students, most of whom should be now enrolled in an institute of higher education. Letters were sent to each student in the cohorts along with a short questionnaire concerning their current academic situation. The questions inquired about the student’s current academic situation and influences of the camp on the selection of major and/or institution if applicable. Additional questions addressed what students remembered about the camp, i.e., specific activities.

The subjective feedback indicates that exposing middle school students to engineering, science, and math increases the number of students enrolling in such areas. Also presented is information regarding current technologies employed in the camp activities, A discussion of the effect of increasing use of current undergraduate engineering activities is also presented. These changes and perceived benefits are discussed in the paper.


Between the years 1995 and 2002, Virginia Tech has seen an overall engineering enrollment increase of approximately 13.2% according to the Office of Institutional Research. Further analysis shows that there has been an increase of 30.4% in African Americans and a 23.5% increase in Hispanics enrolling in engineering during this period of time. The increase in numbers is a preferred trend, but the question remains ‘what is causing this increase and how can it be continued?’ At Virginia Tech, there are many incentive programs to encourage students from Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Sexton, P., & Wade, M., & Watford, B. (2003, June), Engineering Summer Camps: Do They Increase Engineering Enrollments? Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12574

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