Calling All Writers!

Where can writing take you? Often students who enjoy writing imagine that writing careers are all about creative writing (the next Great American Novel). If you love to write fiction or poetry, then go for it! But have you thought about other forms of writing like technical writing or writing content for websites?

“Calling All Writers” is a week-long exploration of writing as a profession. You will meet working writers in a variety of fields and learn more about how to shape your writing for different audiences and purposes. You will also have the chance to practice your skills with different writing projects and  learn new ways to approach the writing process, from brainstorming and drafting to revising and submitting for publication.

Don’t worry, attending the “Calling All Writers” program doesn’t mean you will be staring at a blank screen for a whole week trying to think of something to say. We’ll give you plenty of opportunities to get out of the classroom and lots of things to write about. If you are a writer, or want to be one, this is a great opportunity for you to meet and learn from other students who share your interests and from faculty and professional writers who can guide and encourage you along the way.

The “Calling All Writers” course is offered the week of June 16-22, 2019 for students in 9-11th grade. (CN52313) Don’t miss out! Find out more.


Consumers Energy and DTE Help to Power Renewable Energy Summer Program

Students at Summer Youth Programs love to get hands-on, dive into projects, and try new things. They harness their academic talents in creative ways by solving all kinds of problems. Excitement for STEM comes naturally to the kinds of people who are drawn to SYP: those with curiosity and a sense for how much fun science and engineering can be.

You know who else fits those descriptions? FIRST Robotics students!

Our friends at Consumers Energy and DTE see this connection, and this year we are fortunate to have them as a sponsor. 13 students from Michigan FIRST Robotics teams will receive scholarships to attend our Intro to Renewable Energy program in July. They were awarded during the FIRST Dean’s List and Championship Week events to students from all across the state.

During this class, students will explore renewable energy from batteries to hydroelectric dams, and discover how we harness energy in different ways. Activities may include building and racing solar-powered cars, touring a hydroelectric dam, and building their own turbine.

Zooming with the sun.
Students race solar powered cars as part of a challenge in the renewable energy course.

For Consumers, there is tremendous value to getting students engaged with a summer program like this.

Consumers Energy has boldly and courageously committed to a sustainable future through clean energy. In order to accomplish this, we must engage our students in experiences that will open their eyes to careers involving sustainable technologies. The Intro to Renewable Energy program will be an amazing opportunity for students to gain exposure in this area! We are proud to partner with Michigan Technological University to plant seeds that will yield the talent that will help us to realize this sustainable future!

Monique Wells, Consumers Energy

If this course sounds cool, don’t worry. There are still a handful of spots remaining in Intro to Renewable Energy if you would like to join us this summer! Check out more information on our website at mtu.edu/syp.


New weeks of programs added!

The school year is coming to an end rapidly, which means that it’s time to think summer! Although some of our SYP explorations have filled up already, we have a few exciting last-minute opportunities that you may want to take advantage of.

  1. Additional week of Electrical & Computer Engineering. The department has added another section of this popular course during the week of June 23-29!
  2. New cybersecurity program. The GenCyber program will run during the week of June 16-22 and provides a full scholarship for those who participate. This program is limited to commuter students and is based on grant funding, which means local or staying-local participants only!
  3.  Space still remaining! We still have plenty of seats remaining, particularly in our June courses! Check out the full catalog to see all the great options that remain.

If you have any questions, please feel welcome to contact our office. We are so excited to see everyone in just a couple of weeks! Our offices can be reached at 906-487-2219 or syp@mtu.edu


Instructors Needed for Summer Youth Programs

Attention Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and undergrad/graduate students! If you have enthusiasm for a couple of subject areas, we have a great opportunity for you. 

As Summer Youth Programs (SYP) gears up for another exciting season, we are constantly seeking ways to make explorations engaging, impactful, and fun for all participants. With the semester just coming to a close, enrollment is strong – over 950 participants have already enrolled, between scholarship programs and the wide range of SYP explorations! We have hired nearly 65 undergraduate and graduate student staff, built our executive team, and begun preparations for our annual move to Wadsworth Hall. At this time, one remaining hurdle is finding instructors and TA’s to deliver academic curriculum for several of our popular explorations.

What does it take to be an SYP Instructor or TA? Enthusiasm is a must, and previous classroom experience is ideal. If you are interested in delivering structured, hands-on learning to excited and engaged students from across the country, we’d love to hear from you! Learn more at the SYP website. Here is a list of courses we are still hiring instructors for:

  • Environmental Invaders (June 16—22)
  • Rocketry and Space Science (June 16—22 and June 23—29)
  • Aquatic Ecology (July 7—13)
  • Aquatic Ecology Field Study at Gratiot Lake (July 14—20)

For a detailed look at each course, and general idea of what we’re looking for from instructors, below is some additional information:

Rocketry and Space Science
(Instructors Needed: 1 – TA’s: 1)
June 16—22 (grades 6—8 / capacity 15 students) and
June 23—29 (grades 9—11 / capacity 15 students)

Students in this course will learn about aerodynamics and propulsion while building their own rockets! During the week, they use software to explore design elements, build a homemade rocket, explore concepts in physics and engineering, and learn about careers in space science. The week culminates with the students launching rockets at the Gay Stamp Sands. Instructor should be comfortable working with middle and high school students, have experience in rocketry/space science, and have confidence explaining STEM topics to a wide variety of learners.

Aquatic Ecology Field Study at Gratiot Lake
(Instructors Needed: 1 – TA’s: 1)
July 14—20 (grades 9—11 / capacity 8 students)

Students will spend a week out at the rustic Noblet Field Station on Gratiot Lake! During the week, they will explore ecological topics as they relate to lakes, rivers, wetlands, and streams. Aquatic plants, insects, mammals, birds, fishes, and many other topics are welcome – past activities have included extensive canoeing, water quality testing, learning about beaver dams, plant identification, and much more. Instructors should be comfortable with rustic cabin accommodations and have experience in some aspects of aquatic ecology. Instructor or TA should be, or be willing to become, First Aid/CPR certified.

Aquatic Ecology
(Instructors Needed: 1 – TA’s: 1)
July 7—13 (grades 6—8 / capacity 12 students)

Learn about freshwater ecology in Upper Michigan’s beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula! Who’s eating who in the Great Lakes and what makes a species invasive? What exactly is lurking in your typical backyard stream? And why are some lakes clear, while others are green and murky? Find out the answers to these questions and more—learn all about lakes and streams!

Environmental Invaders
(Instructors Needed: 1 – TA’s: 1)
June 16—22 (grades 9—11 / capacity 12 students)

Find out how invasive species join and change ecosystems with this new ecology course. Throughout the week, you will explore plant and animal species that have taken off in the Keweenaw area. Be ready to get out in the field, hike, explore, and help with some invasive species study and removal projects! We will spend the days outdoors, rain or shine!

SYP invites interested applicants to contact us via cpcojobs@mtu.edu  


Deadline Approaching for Transportation Scholarships

The deadline for two more of our competitive scholarship programs is coming up fast! Students interested in either the National Summer Transportation Institute (NSTI) or our Rail & Intermodal Transportation (RIT) programs need to apply by Wednesday, May 1 at 5 PM.

NSTI is a two-week long program centered on the transportation industry. Students learn about trains, planes, ships, automobiles, highways, and many other aspects of the field. There are numerous field trips, including to the Mackinac Bridge, Sault Ste. Marie, the local airport, and railroad yards.

RIT focuses specifically on the rail industry, including the many ways in which trains, ships, and trucking (there’s the “intermodal” part!) are engineered and operated. Students will learn about advancements in railroad technology, like alternative fuels and advanced train control systems, as well as go on technical tours at facilities in Marquette MI and Duluth MN.

Both programs provide insight into engineering (especially civil engineering), give students a chance to see real-world applications, and center on hands-on exploration. These two programs require completed scholarship applications, and decisions will be made by mid-May.

Send materials in either by scan (nsti@mtu.edu and rit@mtu.edu, respectively) or by snail mail at:

Summer Youth Programs
217 Administration Bldg.
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI  49931

We look forward to hearing from you soon!


Introducing our 2019 SYP Head Staff Team!

SYP Head Staff
L to R Front: Grace Kluchka, Mallory Benkert, Skylar Callis  | Back Row: Zachary Smith and Rob Lambert

As the start of Summer Youth Programs quickly approaches, we are very excited to introduce you to our 2019 SYP Head Staff team. This amazing group of Michigan Tech students take on additional leadership in the summer, including training during orientation, coordinating staff schedules, and problem-solving when the unexpected arises.

During the first few head staff meetings, they shared what they are most looking forward to this year. Here are a few of their thoughts:

I have been a counselor in the past and really enjoyed igniting students’ passion for STEM and asking them questions.  I am looking forward to using my past experiences as an activity and day counselor to solve any issues and develop some new campus activities that are free/low cost for participants to try.

Grace Kluchka, Head Activities Counselor

Returning Head Operations Counselor Robert Lambert shared the value of being a second-year as a Head Counselor and third year member of the SYP staff.

I really enjoyed last summer as a head counselor and grew a lot as a leader and a person. This year I am starting with a better understanding of my role and bringing more experience and attention to details.

Mallory Benkert worked with SYP last year as a Student Coordinator; this year, she will bring those strong organizational skills to the leadership team as as Head Counselors’ Counselor. And, no, you didn’t read that wrong—although it is an odd job title! The HCC is in charge of scheduling, general check-ins, and any concerns from the staff members themselves.

I was motivated to apply to be on the leadership team so I can be more “in” the scenes than “behind” the scenes.

Zachary Smith and Skylar Callis also bring a summer of experience to their roles, and will both be taking on new perspectives within SYP. Zach worked at the front desk last year and will move into the Head Residence Counselor Role. Skylar, meanwhile, is taking on Head Operations with Rob after spending last year as a Residence Counselors.

As June approaches and final plans fall into place, we are very excited to work with this Head Staff and our full SYP team to bring another great summer of programs to you. We come back year after year, too, because as it turns out, we love this opportunity just as much as our students do. It’s so much more than a camp or class—it’s an experience. And for many, it’s life changing.


Devin’s Story from SYP!

At the end of each summer we ask students to share with us what attending Summer Youth Programs meant to them in the form of a story contest, these stories never disappoint! Our 2018 middle school level winner shares her story below.

“My name is Devin and SYP has taught me so much. I learned how to be a strong and independent person, how to make the world a better place. I got to experience college living firsthand, and have fun while doing it all. In Engineering 101 we learned about so many different things that come into play in everyday lives without people even realizing. Everything was hands on and taught us how to think creatively, like the time we designed prosthetic legs out of recycled materials in the Bio-Medical lesson. SYP was nothing close to a regular summer camp, but that’s what made it so special. It was days packed full of learning, amazing food, new friends, and a few Walmart runs all mixed into one unforgettable experience. Michigan Tech has always been my dream college. It was so inspiring to learn about science and engineering from instructors of this amazing school. I learned so much about future career paths and can’t wait to learn even more. I hope in the future there will be more and more female engineers that I will grow to work with and learn from. My experience at camp was absolutely amazing, and I hope I can come back next year.” – Devin O., 2018 SYP participant

We love reading stories like Devin’s and hearing that students are not only learning about careers, but building confidence and independence in themselves and their ability to succeed in college. We also hope that Devin comes back this summer to learn even more and work on her own path to becoming a successful engineer.


Application Deadlines for Scholarship Programs!

As April gets underway, we are fast approaching the application deadline for many of our competitive scholarship programs! The following programs are included in this pool:

  • Women in Engineering (WIE)
  • Engineering Scholars Program (ESP)
  • Junior Women in Engineering (JWIE)
  • Women in Computer Science (WICS)
  • Women in Automotive Engineering (WIAE)

Applicants to WIE, ESP, JWIE, WICS, and WIAE who submit a complete set of materials by 5:00 p.m. EDT, April 10, will be considered for acceptance. We do honor postmark, so get everything together and in the mail on that date!

Why apply for one of these intensive STEM programs? The opportunities students will have are so vast: work in teams to test bridge models; solder circuit boards; find out about the human factors in automotive design; explore cybersecurity and virtual reality. In addition, a week on campus has so many experiences to offer, from living with a roommate to eating in the dining hall, managing your own time in the evening to seeing the beauty of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

My experience in the Engineering Scholars Program has been a mix of both meaningful and enjoyable. This unforgettable week has taught me about various fields in engineering and has provided me with the hands-on experience to think and solve crucial problems like an engineer. One of my favorite parts was the first-hand feel for what it is like to live on campus and stepping into the shoes of a college student.

Aarush G., 2018 ESP Participant

More details about the scholarship programs, including required application materials, can be found on our website. If you have any questions, you can always reach us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


SYP Staff Spring Training

Staff photoFollowing Michigan Tech’s spring break, we all returned with a ton of enthusiasm here in the Center for Pre-College Outreach. Among many other springtime happenings, March brings the first all-staff gathering of a Summer Youth Programs cycle!

This Spring Training was held on March 20th for all staff who accepted a position with SYP. From residence counselors to chaperones, we all gathered together to accomplish a few pre-summer goals. First and foremost, Spring Training provides an opportunity for the head counselors to meet their staff: as peer leaders, it is critical to start building a sense of teamwork as soon as possible! The different staff groups got together to learn names, ask preliminary questions, and get a feel for what their summer will look like.

From there, we spend time outlining summer expectations. We discuss the schedule: what weeks are SYP explorations running? When are the competitive scholarship programs? Which days do staff get off? We also cover expectations of ensuring safety, acting as excellent role models, providing a welcoming and inclusive experience, and the impact of SYP.

Staff are also introduced to the first few items on their training checklist: what days first aid/CPR training is offered, when they will receive their general safety awareness training links, and the time frame for picking up staff books. All in all, Spring Training is a great primer for getting staff excited and prepared for another great summer!

All of the details about the scholarship programs, including required application materials, can be found on our website. If you have any questions, you can always reach us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


Benefits of A Summer Program

Why Is It Important To Send My Child To Camp?

Developed from an article shared by the American Camp Association

Youth development experts agree that children need a variety of experiences in their lives to help them grow into healthy adolescents and adults. For children to develop positive behaviors, their experiences must produce:

  • A sense of industry and competency
    • Do they develop skills? Do they learn to work for what is important? Are they successful at what they do?
  • A feeling they are connected to others and to society
    • Do they feel like they “fit”? Do they see a role they can play in their group, family, or community? Do they have friends?
  • A belief in their ability to make decisions
    • Do they learn to make good choices? Do they see the results of their decisions?
  • A stable identity
    • Are they learning what their skills are? Are they receiving positive feedback about themselves?

The mission of Summer Youth Programs to provide quality, innovative teaching and learning experiences that promote academic studies, college life, and career  awareness. Through hands-on, discovery based programs, students break out of their comfort zone and stretch their imaginations-without the pressure of grades, exams, or assignments. Our facilities, along with research and teaching faculty, deans, and advisers, help students develop college and career goals. Current Michigan Tech students serve as role models, providing inspiration, encouragement and guidance.

We survey students each year to determine the impact of our programs on this mission. Here is information gathered from the 2017 Summer Youth Programs student surveys.

  • 96% of students would recommend their exploration to others
  • 92% of students felt their exploration differed from their classrooms back home
  • 88% of students gained confidence in their ability to be successful in a college atmosphere
  • 86% of students showed interest in coming back for another summer
  • 66% of students felt more likely to attend college

Camp and summer programs provide an excellent experience for your child to learn and develop and is uniquely positioned to provide many key developmental needs for children. Consider camp as the perfect partner to family, school, and community youth activities in helping your child learn independence, decision-making, social and emotional skills, character building and values – all in an atmosphere of creativity and enrichment under the supervision of positive adult role models.

“I found my passion. Thank you for the best experience of my life. Everyone should attend a camp like this before college.” – 2018 Women in Engineering attendee

In today’s pressure-oriented society, camp provides a non-threatening environment for youth to be active, to develop competence in life skills, to learn about and enhance their own abilities and to benefit from meaningful participation in a community designed just for them. In addition, our programs invite students to dive into STEM and learning intentionally and purposefully. Students gain valuable insight into what their future career could look like before they even begin college.