STEM Camp wraps up with competitions, awards

STEM Camp students poseDestiny Harber began her time at the second annual Lee College STEM Camp with a keen interest in engineering — but by the end of her week on campus, she had discovered a new passion in the realm of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“I learned that I also really like forensics and biology,” said Harber, an incoming freshman at Barbers Hill High School who was on a waiting list of potential participants before getting the call that a space at camp had opened. “Everything was way above what I expected.”

Nearly 50 high-school students from the Barbers Hill, Dayton and Goose Creek Consolidated independent school districts participated in the free summer STEM Camp at Lee College, held from July 14-18 and sponsored in part by ExxonMobil. Campers spent the week rotating through a variety of science-inspired classes and hands-on activities led by college instructors. Topics included astronomy, chemistry, forensics, computer networking, instrumentation technology, kinesiology and robotics.

At the camp finale, student teams faced off in a forensics challenge and tested their programming mettle by putting custom-built robots to work moving wooden blocks from a specified area. Engineers from ExxonMobil served as judges as many of the campers’ parents and siblings watched the competition.

“We used the same hardware as I would in my college-level engineer classes,” said instructor Evan Richards, who led the robotics sessions. “This is the advanced stuff. Every single camper here should have a lot of pride in their heart for what they accomplished.”

Two of the top senior campers each received a $500 Lee College scholarship at the closing awards luncheon, with other standout students also awarded prizes for perfect attendance and high performance.

“We are proud of this camp and proud that all of you spent a part of your summer here with us,” said Lee College Pres. Dr. Dennis Brown. “Keep following your dreams as you pursue a career, and don’t be just a student — be a graduate.”