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Using An Alternative Energy Summer Camp For High School Students As A University Outreach Program For The Recruitment Of Future Engineering Students: A Two Year Study

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Experiences in Teaching Energy Courses

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1319.1 - 15.1319.33



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Paper Authors

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Robert Fletcher Lawrence Technological University

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

Using an Alternative Energy Summer Camp for High School Students as a University Outreach Program for the Recruitment of Future Engineering Students: A Two Year Study


Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in 2007 and 2008 conducted a one week long Alternative Energy Summer Camp for high school students. This summer camp is one of several on-campus camps at Lawrence Tech that give high school students the opportunity to learn about specific technologies and to interact with full-time university science and engineering faculty. The Alternative Energy Summer Camp focuses on the major technologies in this field, including solar heating, solar photovoltaics, wind energy, geothermal systems, and fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. This camp was held with a limited enrollment to help assure close faculty contact and to give the students maximum opportunities to obtain hands-on experiences with the major associated equipment in our university’s Alternative Energy Laboratory. This paper evaluates the evolution of the summer camp structure, as well as assesses and reviews the feasibility, benefits, and value of conducting this summer camp over two summer sessions. Detailed assessment data obtained from the student participants (by survey and interviews), as well as feedback from participating faculty from both summer sessions that augment the understanding and value of such work to both student and institution are provided and reviewed. We have found that students not only gained a significant understanding of the Alternative Energy technologies, but also increased their desire to pursue the study of such technologies when they enrolled in college. Students also indicated an increased interest in pursuing an engineering degree in general. The results of this effort at LTU strongly support the value and benefits of holding such summer camps for the recruitment and expansion of student appreciation of the Alternative Energy field.

1) Introduction

The recruitment, enrollment and retention of students are major areas of attention for colleges and universities across the country. This is especially true for academic programs in the sciences and engineering. In addition, major efforts in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education programs have now been on-going for several years to help assure an adequate supply of future engineering and technical talent.1, 2 Many universities and their and their respective colleges have, over the years, developed summer camp programs for students from all ages of the K-12 spectrum to help meet these goals of recruitment and enrollment. This is especially true for colleges of engineering and the departments within those universities.

A quick review of the ASEE literature alone documents and reviews numerous summer camp programs with a broad array of scope and emphasis. The literature typically indicates four types of summer camp programs. These are loosely grouped here as: a) Introduction to Engineering programs that expose the student to the broad and many aspects of engineering, while hoping to kindle interest and enthusiasm in these students

Fletcher, R. (2010, June), Using An Alternative Energy Summer Camp For High School Students As A University Outreach Program For The Recruitment Of Future Engineering Students: A Two Year Study Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16396

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: © 2010 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