Robotics for High School Summer Camps

Robotics at High School Summer Camps

While many high school juniors and seniors may already have a college major in mind, other students are still trying to narrow down their academic passions to pursue at a higher level. Summer robotics campsfor high schoolers can be the perfect opportunity to explore robotics seriously. Even more so, many of these summer programs for high schoolers are set on college campuses, meaning students will also get an up-close tour of future college prospects.

Some schools stand out for their commitment to STEM and excellence in community engagement, especially with robots. Here are the top US summer robotics programs for high school students:

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Cornell University

For two weeks each summer, “Summer College” provides current sophomores, juniors, and seniors with the chance to enroll in its high school robotics camp called Fabricating the Future: Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. Both US citizens and international students are accepted.

Students will experiment with 3D printers, microcontrollers, and other state-of-the-art technology. In addition to hands-on work, high schoolers will also dive into college-level material about ethics in science and technology, for example. Throughout the program, high school students will hear from leaders in the profession, like the chair of Cornell's Information Science Department and professor of computer science and information science, Jon Kleinberg. Other associate professors will lead seminars in mechanical, space, and electrical engineering.

Students are expected to complete all coursework and participate in class discussions and experiments. The purpose of this program is not only about teaching high school robotics but also about instilling tenants of teamwork and free exploration.

The program is lead by Greg Armstrong, secretary of the board of Technology Education Cooperation, and David Saroka, an engineer at Intertek Group.

Boston Leadership Institute: Engineering Research Summer Program

The Boston Leadership Institute reaches out to students interested in all science disciplines, including biological research, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, STEM entrepreneurship and robotics engineering.

Boston Leadership Institute: Engineering Research Summer Program in particular runs for approximately three weeks in the summer out of Waltham, Massachusetts. This program introduces students to mechanical engineering through simple design as they begin to develop their own robot and prototypes. Meanwhile, students also get a better handle on computer programming necessary to code their robots.

Each year, students are lead by a top professional in the field. This year, students will be under the direction of Diane Brancazio. Diane Brancazio graduated from Princeton and later from MIT with a Master of Science in Engineering. She currently works on developing STEM curriculum for Cambridge schools.

The program calls on students to overcome obstacles through critical thinking and teamwork skills. Through this process, students will develop skills that are transferable to almost any other profession as well.

Boston Leadership Institute: Engineering Research Summer Program has been named among the top 5 summer programs in the United States. Students hail from 45 states and from over 30 countries.

Alfred University Summer Programs

Alfred University is set in upstate New York, against a backdrop of rolling hills and swooping valleys. It’s also the perfect place for high school students to expand their knowledge of high school robotics (along with other subjects such as creative writing, computers, polymers & metal science, and theater.)

Alfred professional faculty guide students through their summer program. Robotics Engineering Camp is specifically designed for high schooler grades 10-12. Class sizes are small to give each student more individualized attention.

Alfre’s program is based on the VEX Robotics System, which means in addition to real-world experience, students are also learning about the kinds of STEM careers that await them. Class content is based on an overview of the VEX Robotics System, assembling the VEX robotics system, programming and performing radio control on the VEX system.

The program is kept light and fun. Students can participate in other camp activities to get to know other students better such as movie nights, indoor activities like capture the flag, meeting others at the coffee shop, and attending the farewell party on the final night.

Engineering Summer Academy at Penn

Penn State provides a summer engineering program perfect for high school robotics enthusiasts and welcome to students of all backgrounds. Set on the university’s historic campus, students will not only learn about high school robotics and STEM but will also get a real feel for college life.

Students who enroll in the robotics summer program at Penn will have access to high-end hardware. They’ll learn about the kind of software used to program robots and will build their own as groups. What better way to get kids excited than to throw some heat on the fire with high school robotics competitions? Students will compete against one another for the best robot design, most powerful grip, etc.

Students who sign up for the course should have already taken classes in physics, math, and C programming. Interested families may apply for financial aid during the admissions process. In the application process, students are encouraged not only to demonstrate academic excellence but critical thinking and teamwork as well. All students are housed on campus where they will have a chance to meet US as well as international students participating in the program.

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NYIT: Technology & Engineering Experience

High school students at NYIT will have two sessions to choose from, each lasting for two weeks. The first session takes place at the Manhattan campus and the second at the Old Westbury campus.

Here, students participate in such activities as gaming, hacking, 3D printing, prototyping, material sciences and robotics. During the program, students will gain two college credits and are also encouraged to start thinking about STEM careers of interest. Students will benefit from a program that teaches them robotics techniques as much as it prepares students for college life. Students will build on teamwork and social skills while they immerse themselves in the world of robotics.

Courses run Monday through Friday. Admission costs are based on a general tuition fee as well as a lab fee and housing/dining fee.

Derek Capo