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Evaluation of miniGEMS 2015 – Engineering Summer Camp for Middle School Girls

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Evaluation: Exploring the Impact of Summer Programs on K-12 Youth (Part 1)

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Michael T. Frye University of the Incarnate Word

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Michael T. Frye, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Engineering in the Department of Engineering at the University of the Incarnate Word, in San Antonio, TX. He is an Electrical Engineer who specialized in the field of nonlinear control theory with applications to autonomous air vehicles. Dr. Frye’s research interest is in discovering new and efficient techniques that mitigates the effects of uncertainty in complex nonlinear dynamics; such as seen in autonomous vehicle systems. Dr. Frye is the PI and Laboratory Director for the Autonomous Vehicle Systems Lab sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

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Sreerenjini C. Nair University of the Incarnate Word

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Assistant Professor in Physics, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

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Angela Meyer Rawlinson MS

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Secondary Teacher at NISD Ed Rawlinson Middle School
UIW Graduate Student (graduating in May 16 K-12 Multidisciplinary Sciences)

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miniGEMS (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science) was a free five-day Engineering Summer camp organized and run by the authors’ research laboratory for middle school girls during the week of July 6 to July 10. The primary goal of the camp was to introduce more females into the field of Engineering through robotic projects and competitions, guest speakers, and field trips. The camp had additional emphasize on providing learning and research opportunities for girls from underrepresented communities. miniGEMS was the first camp ever in town for middle school girls with a special focus in engineering and research. Despite being held for the first time, there were 26 middle school students from various school districts. The camp was planned, coordinated, and directed by the authors who were also the principal investigators of the program. Additionally, four engineering research assistants from the authors' research lab and three middle school teachers from the local school districts helped with the daily robotics projects and competition. The first half of the week focused on the EV3 Lego Mindstorms robots for the campers to learn about robotics, autonomous land navigation, and computer programming. The students also had the opportunity to build and compete using the SeaPerch underwater robots. This was the first time that the SeaPerch was used for a middle school girls’ research competition. The campers had hands-on experience in building robots as a team which could be guided through an underwater obstacle course. The last day of the camp consisted of a field trip on digital art and engineering and an awards presentation and banquet for outstanding research achievements. The individual and group interactions with the students and their parents reveals that the students had had a great time at the camp and many were motivated to consider engineering as a career.

We present the details of the miniGEMS summer camp including its objectives, plans, funding, daily activities, assessment, and evaluation. We will review the results of the evaluation of the miniGEMS camp success including future work.

Frye, M. T., & Nair, S. C., & Meyer, A. (2016, June), Evaluation of miniGEMS 2015 – Engineering Summer Camp for Middle School Girls Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26784

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