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  • Ryan Bailis

Bucknell Engineering Camp 2019

Updated: Jul 4, 2019

This past week, 99 students aged 13-18 came to Bucknell eager to learn more about engineering and the engineering design process. Over the course of five days, my group of 23 students attended 16 sessions ranging from music and robotic programming to atmospheric and bio-chemistry. These mini-courses, all taught by university professors, gave students a flavor of what learning in college would be like.


During this camp, my role as counselor allowed me to interact with students directly and help mentor them through the week. This was often a 24/7 job that required incredible energy and coordination to ensure students arrived on-time to different sessions, meals, and scheduled actives. Having not been a camp counselor before, this experience gave me incredible insight into how difficult working with a group of students can be. It takes an enormous amount of leadership to steward the group and ensure each students' educational journey is enriched with individualized attention.

The green group gathers for a picture after their first session, "Physics and Mechanics."

One of the sessions the students found perticually interesting was "Structural Engineering" taught by Professor Stephen Buonopane. The class gave students the opportunity to build a tower using K'NEXs and test their structures' ability to withstand earthquakes induced by a shake table. It was really awesome to see the students try a certain design, see that it was unstable when shaken at certain frequencies, and revamp their design to work better. That is what engineering is all about.

Over the course of engineering camp, my co-counselors and I found ways to engage the students and provide them with an authentically memorable experience. Some of my most favorite memories came about during casual conversations with the students and learning about their lives as maturing young adults. Even as the days grew long and I started to feel physically and mentally drained, their spirit and enduring energy gave me the strength I needed to keep the energy high. After all, engineering camp is meant to be fun!

Celebrating the end of a successful engineering camp, the green group gathers for one last photo.

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