First week of STEM camps a success

The first week of STEM camps at OU was a success. The program continues throughout the summer. Photo/Stephanie Sokol

Stephanie Sokol for OUSECS

Last week, students from 3rd to 12th grade gathered in Dodge Hall and the OU INCubator, to build and experiment in engineering. The annual summer-long STEM camps give kids the chance to explore the field.

“The kids have a lot of ideas and keep experimenting, so it’s nice,” said Ruth John, Industrial Engineering Teaching Assistant.

Pontiac Schools have teamed up with SECS, which will grant class credit to some high-school age learners. Courses are split into categories of Alternative Energy, Structures, Industrial and Systems, Electrical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science.

The first week spotlighted alternative energy. Under the instruction of Caymen Novak and Trey Whitehouse, children made their own batteries out of various household items, as well as miniature solar panels and wind turbines, testing the energy of each creation.

Older students spent time studying ergonomics, probability and statistics, using software to record and compare one another’s height, in a course led by Graduate Instructor John Katona.

STEM camps give students the chance to learn in a fun environment.

Throughout the summer, they will explore other areas of engineering, taking on projects to build robots, in addition to coordinating a light show to be played at Katona’s concert later this summer, which he said both himself and the students are excited for.

“I like working with kids because everything is new and exciting,” Katona said. “They haven’t experienced what engineering is like and it is exciting when they see their first program run or finish their first multifaceted engineering project. For many kids, it is their first time not being told how to do things, but they are allowed resources to build whatever they can envision.”

Registration is still available on Oakland’s website at

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