New WSU Summer Camp for Detroit Area Youth Offers Vision, Life Goals and Opportunities
Several dozen seventh and eight grade youths from the Detroit area now have some ideas about their futures they may never have thought about before.
The College of Engineering launched a new engineering camp this summer that concluded July 18 for young men designed to strengthen their interest in math and science, and develop life goal skills along the way.
The Young Men in Engineering Program (YMEP), a federally funded program, attracted 23 youths from Detroit, Hamtramck, Warren, Pontiac, Southfield, Romulus, Sterling Heights, and Eastpointe to the two-week summer camp on the Wayne State campus. Associate Dean Gerald Thompkins said he established the program to reach out to youth from the urban core who are dramatically underrepresented in the numbers of United States engineering graduates.
“The numbers are a disgrace,” Thompkins said. “We can’t always rely on the public schools to deal with this issue. Students from these areas who show an early interest in math and science deserve the same opportunities others have to form a vision for their future.”
The camp has students taking one-hour courses in chemistry, technical writing, engineering, math and life skills. The instructors are all African-American men. The students also take field trips and participate in team-building recreational activities. On one of the last days of camp, the young men gathered in teams on the athletic field to launch remote triggered chemically powered miniature rockets.
“Judging from the look of awe on their faces as they watched their rockets punch up into the muggy skies, these young men are already aiming higher,” said David Reich, public affairs officer for the college.
Cost for the camp is $100 and they receive all supplies for the classes during the program. This YMEP program joins other summer programs at the College of Engineering, including one for girls, another for high school students, and one for incoming freshmen, all geared to support interest in engineering, math and science.
“My goal is to expand the YMEP program to a four-week summer program next year for it to be effective in teaching and helping the students prepare for pursuing an engineering degree in college,” Thompkins said. “We are currently soliciting additional funding to help make that expansion a reality.”
This story originally appeared in a different version by Arthur Bridgeforth in the Great Lakes ITT Report. Bridgeforth, a former WSU information officer, has a son who participated in the YMEP program.