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Holding A "Girl Friendly" Computer Aided Design Camp

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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

Promoting ET Through K-12 Projects

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.636.1 - 8.636.7

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Paper Authors

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Karen Horton

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

Session 3547

Holding a “Girl-Friendly” Computer Aided Design Camp

Karen J. Horton University of Maine


In the summer of 2002 high school aged campers attended weeklong Computer Aided Design (CAD) camps at the University of Maine. The camps combined computer instruction with challenging recreation activities requiring teamwork and interpersonal skills. One goal was to attract both girls and boys to this technically oriented camp. The camp was successful at attracting twenty-five percent girls. Other goals included supporting campers’ feelings of competence and being part of the group. Camper feedback from girls and boys clearly indicated that these two goals were met through the program.


The University of Maine hosted two weeklong CAD Camp sessions during July and August 2002. The unique camps provided high school students with half-day instruction modeling objects in three dimensions using the engineering design software MicroStation. For example, campers created a still life of a table with a transparent bottle with liquid in it, a glass or glasses, and other items of their choice. They applied materials and colors creatively. Later campers manipulated each other’s images on globes to create swirled faces, faces with pointed heads, or faces with abstract textures or colors. During the second half of the day campers developed relationship and teamwork skills through the University’s Maine Bound “Challenge by Choice” Recreation Program. The recreation activities included low and high ropes courses, a climbing wall, and canoeing. At the end of each week campers and their parents were excited by the challenging technical, physical, and social experiences the camp had offered.

A goal of the camp was to reach out to girls who might not otherwise consider technical training opportunities, so the camp was planned to appeal equally to girls and boys. Prior to the camps the directors reached out to prospective campers through schools and clubs, obtained funds to provide camp scholarships, developed CAD projects of equal interest to girls and boys, and developed appropriate classroom techniques to support girls’ and boys’ learning. Of the thirty- six campers attending, nine were girls. Several of the girls planned to enter technical fields but others had no prior interest in technical careers. The directors were particularly pleased that all the girls were enthusiastic about the camp and wanted to recruit other girls to the planned 2003 CAD Camps.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Horton, K. (2003, June), Holding A "Girl Friendly" Computer Aided Design Camp Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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