REHAMS Participants Receive Facility Tours, Industry Advice, and Hands-On Experience


Summer camps are in full swing on LSU’s campus.Students use different materials to make concerete.

REHAMS, or Recruiting Into Engineering High-Ability Multicultural Students, kicked off its 39th annual summer camp June 18-24.

The week-long camp sponsored by Shell, Fluor and Dow hosted 41 high school students from nine different states.

Jada D. Lewis, assistant dean for diversity at the LSU College of Engineering, said this was one of the most academically talented classes to participate in the camp, with an average GPA of 3.7. In addition, 29 percent of the participants were female.

Lewis said the focus of the camp was to give each student an “engineering experience.”

“For every discipline we offer at the College of Engineering, we are doing a facility tour,” Lewis said. “We are really trying to get them out there talking to engineers, looking at their workspace and seeing what they do on a day-to-day basis.”

Some of the facilities toured were the Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), Shell, and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA).Students use different materials to make concerete.

Students also met with various professionals during an industry lunch. Representatives from companies such as Marathon Petroleum and Exxon Mobil, as well as LSU Engineering professors, talked with students and answered questions about the degree path.

But for some, there is still some uncertainty as to what area they will choose after graduation. Sierra Britton graduates high school next May and is torn between majoring in chemical or mechanical engineering.

“From what I have learned at camp, I like both and I am not really sure which one I will pick,” Britton said. “But I have time since I am only a senior.”

Adam Reid felt the same way. The sophomore high school student doesn’t know what field of engineering he will major in but the camp experience has been an eye-opener for him.

“I really don’t know that much about [engineering] right now,” Reid said. “I am trying to gather as much information as I can.”

During the camp, students worked on a design project. This year’s theme centered on the 2016 Louisiana flood. The students were asked to build a sustainable house that would protect against hurricanes and flooding.REHAMS Industry Lunch

“We tried to brainstorm something that would be really specific to Louisiana,” Lewis said. “It would be practical and something the kids could relate to.”

Camper Donovan Bryant said brainstorming ideas was the hardest part for his group.

“We got more comfortable as a team and it was easier to bounce ideas off one another,” Bryant said. “The house came together as we worked together.”

The interactions between the students did not go unnoticed.

Computer science senior TraVal Shanklin said being a first-time counselor reminded him of his REHAMS experience.

 “I felt like this was my way of giving back,” Shanklin said. “When I was in the camp, it helped make my decision in choosing to become an engineer easier.”

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Raven Nichols, communications intern, LSU College of Engineering

To see more photos from the camp, visit the LSU Engineering Diversity Programs Facebook page