LSU College of Engineering Stirs STEM Excitement

Although many college students were out-of-town this summer, LSU opened its gates to the future engineers of tomorrow. During June and July, LSU’s College of Engineering Office of Student Services and Diversity Initiatives hosted four outreach programs for 5th through 12th grade students: REHAMS, XCITE and two sessions of Project N’Jneer.

The camps featured hands-on demonstrations, design competitions, industry tours and career exploration activities, all intent on capturing the students’ imagination and inspiring them to pursue STEM majors in college.

Recruiting into Engineering High Ability Multi-Cultural Students (REHAMS) camp offers young students of all races and ethnicities the opportunity to learn more about engineering careers.

In its 36th year, REHAMS participants were immersed into college life by living on campus. In addition to taking Engineering 101 courses featuring multiple concentrations, students also learned about professionalism in college and the workplace. The participants toured Dow Chemical Company’s plant in Plaquemine and LSU’s Petroleum Engineering Research and Technology (PERRT) Lab. REHAMS students even tackled the LSU UREC Challenge Course, an obstacle course including rock-climbing and high ropes. This year, Dow Chemical USA, Fluor Enterprises, Inc. and Shell Oil Company helped sponsor the REHAMS camp.

The College also held the eXploration Camp for Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers (XCITE) for 9th and 10th grade young women. The girls studied various areas of engineering and learned how to use their passion for math and science in different career fields. XCITE participants also toured Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Garyville Refinery and LSU’s PERRT Lab. During multiple Professionalism 101 sessions, the students were presented information about leadership, social media etiquette and positive self-image. While making new friends, XCITE students viewed a Louisiana Art and Science Museum planetarium show and teamed up to play an Instagram scavenger hunt in downtown Baton Rouge. The XCITE program is sponsored by Marathon Oil, Marathon Petroleum and Fluor.

“Being a counselor for XCITE gave me an opportunity to inform young ladies on the careers available for them in the STEM field,” said Alyssa Lassard, XCITE camp counselor. “The camp allowed us to make new friends and have fun while still working on a design project and learning new things.”

The College offered two sessions of Project N’Jneer this summer, for middle school students. Project N’Jneer participants studied structural, aeronautical, chemical, biological and mechanical engineering. While exploring engineering options, students designed and created flying machines, bridges and circuits.

“We learned how bridges work and limitations of the connections while seeing how different types of pressure affect the bridge,” said Aidan Balsamo, Project N’Jneer participant. “I want to come to LSU to study engineering.”

To express interest in next year’s summer camps, please visit https://www.eng.lsu.edu/diversity/programs.

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Article by Danielle Kelley, LSU College of Engineering communications intern. For more information, contact Mimi LaValle, 225-578-5706 or mlavall@lsu.edu.