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Engineering focus of annual Marshall camp

Jun. 27, 2010 @ 11:20 PM

HUNTINGTON -- They might find out that engineering is their perfect career path, and they might decide to start pursuing that career by choosing to study engineering at Marshall University. But either way, they're likely to have their minds challenged this week and to make some new friends and some memories.

That's the hope of the professionals at Marshall University who help put on the annual Exploring Engineering: Academy of Excellence, which is in its 10th year.

The camp kicked off on Sunday with a presentation presentation titled "Building Strong" by Coy Miller, civilian deputy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington. Sponsors of the camp include Chesapeake Energy, the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute (RTI) and other local businesses and organizations.

The five-day introduction to engineering gives high-schoolers with an interest in math and science a chance to apply those skills to engineering concepts, to learn about different fields of engineering and to build things like robots and miniature roller coasters. Thirty-six students are participating, including 20 boys and 16 girls. Most are from West Virginia, but the students also come from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina and New Jersey.

James Long has traveled to Huntington from Magnolia High School in Wetzel County, W.Va.

"I want to see if I like engineering," the 16-year-old junior said Sunday afternoon. "It's either this or teaching."

Cody Griffin, a junior at Grace Christian School in Huntington, wants to be a computer engineer and is attending the camp to expand his knowledge base.

"It actually makes you feel challenged," he said.

Betsy Dulin, dean of the College of Engineering, said she'd love to see all the students eventually choose to study in Marshall's undergraduate engineering program, which now has 250 students enrolled. But she said ultimately it's about providing them with a concentrated experience. Marshall's engineering faculty will be on-hand all week to help them and answer their questions, she said.

It seems like it's going to be pretty cool, said Keya Phillips, who will be sophomore at Hurricane High School. Her parents are math and science teachers and recommended the camp to her. She took their suggestion.

"I like science, I like math and I like thinking things out," she said.

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