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ISU holds STEM camp for middle school, high school students

The College of Technology at Idaho State University is hosting a summer camp to get younger students interested in STEM careers. Those are science, technology, engineering, and math.

More than 60 middle school and high school students are learning to build robots, rockets, computers and more at ISU’s College of Technology’s first “Ignite your Future” camp. The college is teaching students about career fields they may not know much about.

“If we talk about what an instrumentation technician does or a mechanical engineering technician, you know, that’s a lot of times people don’t know what that type of work entails,” said Ryan Pitcher, Department Chair for the Energy Systems Technology and Education Center. “So, this gives an opportunity for the kids and the parents to come in, check out our labs, do some hands on exercises and really learn about the career fields and the opportunities that they’d have.”

Students are aided by area school teachers and technical experts to learn to build, code and program. They’ve created these robots to be controlled by a computer. All of these skills will be beneficial for their futures.

“What’s really important to me is to give them some career experiences,” said Vincent Wray, a career technology education teacher for the Shelley school district. “And this is the up and coming careers in robotics and computer and programming. To be able to get these kids started coding early is a really important skill.”

“So the idea is that we wanna take students and help them understand technology,” said Sean McBride, the Cyber Physical Systems Security Program Coordinator. “And how that’s being, how important that is more and more in their lives in preparing them for the future.”

It’s not just the students learning at the camp. Local teachers spent last week learning the skills and are teaching them to the students this week. They get professional development credits and can take what they’ve learned back to their own classrooms.

“I think the teachers are going to leave here with the confidence and the knowledge to actually be able to integrate the technology that they’ve learned back into their classroom,” Pitcher said.

The camp ends this Friday. Students will get to show off what they’ve learned to their parents and they will even get to take their work home.

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