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WVU Tech's Camp STEM introduces young minds to science and engineering

Camp STEM students learn about fingerprint technology during the camp.

Nearly 40 high school students from throughout the state visited WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus for the popular Camp STEM program, June 19-24.

The week-long camp is designed as an immersion experience that introduces students to STEM concepts and encourages career exploration in STEM fields.

At Camp STEM, students took courses in robotics, biology, mathematics, forensic science, computer science and various engineering disciplines. They heard from guest speakers in the energy, chemical and robotics industries. They conducted experiments, designed and tested canoes made of cardboard, investigated mock crime scenes, conducted engineering surveys and learned about medical careers.

For Dalton Hill, 15, Camp STEM was an eye-opener.

“I decided to come here to get more exposure as to what career options I would like to take in the future,” Hill said.

The Wyoming County 10th-grader is leaning towards math or science as he considers college. He said the experience has introduced him to fields he never considered.

 camp=Camp STEM students explore DNA in the program’s biology course.

“We learned about computer programming. The 3D designing really caught my interest. It was something that I had never done before and I didn’t really think of it as a potential interest, but I liked it a lot,” he said.

As a major component of career exploration, Camp STEM attendees also have to opportunity to experience college life during the program. They live in residence halls on campus, attend college-style courses and eat their meals in the University’s dining hall. They also spend the week interacting with counselors, who are all current WVU Tech STEM students.

Counselor Gregory Hughes is starting his sophomore year as a computer science major at WVU Tech in August. He said he is excited to be a part of the program because he’s interested in how the University can reach out to young students who might not realize their potential in STEM fields.

“Working with the students is a good way to help them learn about what they’ll be doing in college. Because we have counselors from a bunch of different majors, we can also answer questions a bit differently that a professor might be able to. We have a different point of view and we come from a lot of different backgrounds,” he said.

During the camp, students also participated in a daylong field trip. Groups zip-lined, went whitewater rafting and visited the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.

Campers discovered how electrical energy moves from one system to another in power
  generation. Campers discovered how electrical energy moves from one system to another in power generation.

Katie Payne came to Camp STEM from Clay County. The 11th-grader said she was surprised by how instructors tied STEM learning into every activity.

“On our rafting trip, they talked about how the water currents move, which was really interesting because now I can see the science of how the current makes the river work like it does. I expected to just go rafting and not really learn anything. It was really, really cool,” she said.

The camp wrapped up on Friday afternoon with a family picnic, where parents attended a presentation about the week’s activities and what their students had learned during the camp.

Camp STEM is made possible by the generous support of the AEP Foundation and AT&T.

View this year’s camp photos and photos from previous years at