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Engineering Summer Program Kicks Off 30th Year at UW

June 20, 2017
Boy and girl lean over looking at equipment
Spencer Swift, from Elkhart, Ind., and Briley James, of Wheatland, participated in last year’s University of Wyoming College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineering Summer Program and got an inside look at the departments in the college. (UW Photo)

For one week every June, high school students from across the country get to experience the world of engineering at the University of Wyoming. It is all made possible by the 30th annual Engineering Summer Program (ESP).

The program, from June 18-24, is supported by the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), the Outreach School, the Kennedy Endowment, Kester Funding, Union Wireless and Halliburton.

“We found that lots of students really have no idea what engineers do or what kind of careers and job opportunities exist,” says Jeff Anderson, ESP director. “They often do not realize that engineering affects nearly all aspects of our lives so, we try to show them that.”

Established in 1988, the program is open to high school juniors from anywhere in the nation. The state of Wyoming is well-represented, and participants have come from Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Virginia, California, Montana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Utah in recent years. While participating in the program, students receive hands-on experiences in various engineering fields, stay in dormitories and eat at UW’s Washakie Dining Center, making for an experience that prepares them for college life.

This year, 36 students are attending the program to learn about a wide range of subjects. Electrical engineering topics include microcontrollers, communications, electric motors and robotics. Students are conducting experiments with a weather balloon to learn more about atmospheric investigations.

Classes available are in computer electronics and computer science, where students learn basic programming skills to create movies and simple video games with 3-D objects and characters. Classes also are offered in biomaterials, composite materials, solar energy and architectural engineering.

“When they participate in these classes, they see what engineers do,” Anderson says. “They learn about many great career opportunities available for engineers. They enter college with a better focus on their studies and a better perspective of career goals.”

Classes are taught by UW engineering faculty members and graduate students. Participating students decide what they want to focus on, and attend morning and afternoon sessions. In the evening, they are offered campus tours and visits to CEAS labs to talk to researchers.

While ESP doesn’t feature specific petroleum and chemical engineering classes, students still learn about the industry. Thanks to support from Halliburton, a prominent oil field service company, participants have the opportunity to tour Halliburton’s equipment yard and laboratories.

“We are proud to support the Engineering Summer Program,” says Cindy Bigner, Halliburton’s senior director of corporate affairs and diversity initiatives. “It is important that we work closely with educators to introduce students to the many potential careers in engineering. Giving these students the opportunity to see engineers at work can only help them and the industry in the future.”

Union Wireless has provided generous support for ESP. The company provides several scholarships for ESP participants, funding for classroom supplies and the closing reception breakfast for participants and their families.

“Quite honestly, the program wouldn’t exist without the sponsors,” Anderson says. “We extend our sincere thanks for the support because we really couldn’t do it if any of the main sponsors pulled out. It would really hurt the program. We appreciate what they do and the sacrifices they make for us.”

Anderson adds the collaboration between public and private entities ensures that students receive tools and resources they need to be successful. He believes the support offers a head start in students’ education and their subsequent careers and, most importantly, helps them form relationships.

Program organizers have seen students who participate in the program form study groups that last throughout college and get to know professors and UW.

“One thing we try to do is have them build relationships with faculty so when they’re trying to decide where they want to go study, they already have a connection at the University of Wyoming,” Anderson says.

Students participating in the ESP camp are:

Arlington, Va. -- Danny Donate-Perez.

Burns -- Alex Williams.

Carlsbad, Calif. -- Emy Kiernan.

Cody -- Cody Edwards and Mac Simpson.

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Wiley Neumeyer and Maegan Sowells.

Conifer, Colo. -- Sydney Walker.

Diamondville -- Louis Failoni.                 

Douglas -- Tim Pham.

Eagle, Colo. -- Collin Jenkins.   

Evanston -- Colton Hatch.

Fremont, Calif. -- Rohan Niranjan.

Gillette -- Britney Thompson. 

Golden, Colo. -- Mia Johnson.

Green River -- Samuel Bayles.                                  

Hanna -- David Freeman.                          

Highlands Ranch, Colo. -- Barak Morris.      

Lander -- Noah Gans and Connor Wilkinson.                          

Laramie -- Sarah Holles.                                      

Longmont, Colo. -- Donovan Dean Whitehead.                                     

Meeteetse -- Joshua Graybill.                                

Pinedale -- Jenna Roadifer.                                

Potter, Neb. -- JT Herboldsheimer.                        

Powell -- Hattie Pimentel and Rhett Pimentel.

Ranchester -- Skye Bensel.                                     

Sedalia, Colo. -- Lisa Retzlaff.                                

Sheridan -- Katie Bammel and Aeriana Roth.     

Sidney, Neb. -- Jordan Cook.                                     

Sinking Spring, Pa. -- Ian Williams.                                       

Sterling, Colo. -- Becca Miller.                                  

Toms River, N.J. -- Paige D'Elia.                                 

Yellowstone National Park -- Christina Webster.


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Chad Baldwin

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