Students Get Hands-On at Halliburton XCITE Camp

Camp members of XCITE camp at tableBATON ROUGE, LA – After learning so much at last year’s Halliburton XCITE (eXploration Camp Inspiring Tomorrow’s Engineers) camp, Maggie Stewart decided to attend again this year.

“I was actually at the camp last year and came back,” said Stewart, a high school junior in Baton Rouge. “I just liked all of the different things we did, the different [tours] we went on and the types of talks we got from professors and other people in the industry.”

Stewart was one of 36 young women who attended the camp, which was sponsored by Halliburton, Marathon Petroleum and Flour. Capital One also provided a grant to cover the costs for 10 Baton Rouge-area students to attend. The camp was led by Sarah Jones, associate director of diversity initiatives in the LSU College of Engineering.

The Halliburton XCITE program is a residential camp that focuses on female high school students who are interested in science or engineering. It gives them an opportunity to explore the various disciplines of engineering through lectures with faculty, hands-on activities, site visits to industry, and a week-long design project they work on as a team. Participants also have the opportunity to explore what LSU’s campus has to offer.

“I really like that there are a lot of hands-on activities for us to do because at my school it is all about lecturing and you don’t really learn much,” said Gwyneth Hughes, a high school junior from Mandeville, La.

For the design project, the students were separated into two teams in which they would work on either a water wheel or a mechanical hand.

“We thought more about our [water wheel] design, and it looks like our design is lighter and will work better,” said Ta’ Cora, a high school senior from Baton Rouge. “We came up with the idea of it being like a Ferris Wheel and that is the idea we went with.” 

Many of the students attending XCITE felt as though they were being given valuable information to take with them into their college and professional careers. They were able to experience engineering in a different and more hands-on way then they might have otherwise.

“As of fall 2017, 48 XCITE alumni have enrolled at LSU and 27 of those were engineering majors,” Jones said. “In other words, 56 percent of that pool chose engineering. Girls are choosing the more male-dominated areas like petroleum and mechanical. Also, they are more open to seeing the various paths available to engineering majors.”

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By Olivia Blackstock

Communications Intern