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A student pulls on a rope to launch a bottle rock, which is making a big arc through the sky and back toward the ground.

Miguel Estevez's water bottle rocket takes a turn for the worse shortly after its launch at the University of Arizona College of Engineering's Summer Engineering Academy. Over 200 high school students were invited to the camp. (Photo: Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star). 

Summer Engineering Academy Helps High Schoolers Design Their Future

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Summer Engineering Academy Helps High Schoolers Design Their Future

July 30, 2019
Hundreds of teenagers from across the United States spend their summer launching bottle rockets, racing cardboard boats and melting iron at the University of Arizona.

This summer, the University of Arizona College of Engineering invited over 200 high school students from around the country to build an experience they would never forget.

From working with professionals to build circuits and design light boxes to forging their own tools in the UA Machine and Welding Center, the UA Summer Engineering Academy offered hands on experience in engineering and introduced students to several career pathways within the field.

“A lot of students don’t really know what engineering is, but someone has been telling them for their whole life that they’re good at math and science, so they should be an engineer,” said SEA Director Lori Huggins. “This really gives them an idea of how diverse engineering is and the many different majors within the college.”

SEA is an annual camp that offers six weeks of programming for high school students. Each week is designed with a particular theme in mind, so students can attend the camp that interests them the most. This year, the program included topics such as engineering and health, technology and living. For the first time in its over 30-year history, SEA also included a week specifically for women, bringing in 25 high school girls with a passion for engineering.

“We did a lot of projects,” said Bryce Lundberg, a senior at Sunrise Mountain High School in Peoria. “We built a cardboard boat, worked for two days on them and then raced them against each other, which was really fun. We built hammers with CNC machines. We went to a mine and got to melt down some iron. So many cool projects.”