By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent August 19, 2013 2:30PM
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:10AM
Culminating an eight-week session of the Purdue University Calumet School of Technology’s summer workshop, 65 area middle- and high-school students found themselves launching rockets on their final day.
Taking their homemade rockets to a grassy area on the south end of the campus to measure height was one of the many unique hands-on experiences undertaken by the workshop participants.
“The objective of this workshop was to introduce students to the concepts of engineering technology and provide hands-on weekly activities to emphasize the foundational context of the various engineering technology programs offered at Purdue Calumet,” said Susan Scachitti, head of the Purdue Calumet Engineering Technology department. “Each student experienced learning activities in the areas of Electrical, Mechanical, Mechatronics and Industrial Engineering Technology. After completing this program, students are better able to visualize if an engineering technology degree is the appropriate academic avenue with which to start for their career goals.”
During the classes, students were exposed to fundamental theories and a lab environment.
Parent Amy Hemingway of Munster felt the workshop proved an important educational tool for her son Nelson, 17.
“At summer camp, Nelson was provided opportunities to experience accomplishments and discover hidden talents,” she said.
Nelson, who is a member of the Munster High School Robotics Club, echoed his mother’s comments.
“Engineering technology may be a career option for me in the future,” he said. “And the camp gave me a better understanding of how programming works with the robot.”
Areas covered during the summer workshop included gears and mechanical systems, computers and robotics, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing; basic electricity and electrical circuits; industrial process automation; and logistics and radio frequency identification.
In addition to designing the rockets launched, other activities covered were: programming a Bobot while learning about computers and robotics, developing PLC logic to program a garage door simulation, and designing a metal component in CAD and then producing it on a CNC lathe in the manufacturing lab.
Purdue Calumet instructors Gregory Neff, Craig Engle, Julius Najzer, Hossain Fathizadeh, Rick Rickerson, David McLees, Ed Petrosky, Bill Robinson, and Lash Mapa assisted with the summer workshop.
Students successfully completing the summer workshop took home more than just new skills, experience and a certificate. Upon future admission to Purdue University Calumet, they will receive one departmental credit toward an engineering technology bachelor of science degree.