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Hands-on Electronics Summer Camp

Published: July 5, 2016

Students who are interested in exploring the world of electrical engineering, learning about the process of electronic circuit building or just have an innovative mind open to learning new skills will want to check out the Electronics Summer Camp at CSULB this July. Under the university’s College of Engineering, the camp promises a week full of hands-on, engaging activities that will stimulate students in different areas of science.

“Students will learn coding, work on electrical components with circuit boards and work on other building projects like learning how to create LED lights,” said Brenda Medina, program coordinator for the camp. These various tasks will culminate in a final project where students will learn how to program and control an electronic prosthetic hand.

The first three years of the camp were open to only middle schoolers, with this being the first year it’s been available to high school students. The camp will feature two sessions, the first for middle schoolers through 8th grade from July 11-15, and the second session for high schoolers through 12th grade from July 18-22.

While both sessions will generally cover many of the same core concepts such as coding and electronic circuit programming, the second session moves at an accelerated pace. High school students will have access to other materials and have more requirements for projects, but both sessions will feature challenging and academically stimulating activities and promote vital skills for the students’ features.

The camp will feature various projects for the students to work on throughout the week. More specifically, they are given a kit containing the parts to an Arduino circuit board. This board is great for beginners and entry-level students in the engineering field to help them learn more about the comprehension of certain electrical components. In this hands-on weeklong project, students will use the board to build digital devices and interactive objects that will help them learn more about the physical world.

One feature of the camp that should be highlighted is the cost, according to Saba Yohannes-Reda, Director of Outreach and Recruitment for the College of Engineering, who noted the camp is a great opportunity for students to become exposed to areas of science not normally open to most other middle and high schools, either due to lack of resources or accessibility.

One session of the camp costs $100, and not only includes all of the materials, supplies and academic instruction for the week, but also meals.

Students working together at an Electronics Summer Camp
Students working together during an Electronics Summer Camp session.

“Many of the students in the program are underrepresented or come from low-income families, so one of the camp’s goals is to make it easily possible for those students to participate,” said Yohannes-Reda, who also serves as Program Director for the Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program at CSULB, which serves underprivileged students in five local school districts.

Overall, the camp hopes to promote learning to an audience that would, under other circumstances, not have been exposed to these fields of science, not just through seminars and lectures, but through interactive and hands-on projects that will engage students.

“It’s a fun way for students to become exposed to coding and computer science at an early age,” said Yohannes-Reda. “It really is a great opportunity.”

For additional information, contact Medina.