Building A Successful Summer Youth Programs Team

SYP SnowmanWith summer just around the corner (or should I say somewhere around the snowbank!), the time has come for us to hold interviews and begin filling the 65+ roles that it takes to make SYP a great experience. Each year, we hire a large seasonal staff for a wide variety of roles from live-in counselor to bus chaperones. This team, many of whom are current Michigan Tech students, always bring their own life experiences, fresh perspectives, and what we call a #BeAwesome attitude to the program—each summer is unique!

So, how do we build a successful team?  
With over 1,000 participants attending our summer programs, we rely on the staff in many ways and they need to be prepared for anything! The good news is, a lot of our staff already know so much before they even apply. With over 700 SYP alumni now attending Michigan Tech, it’s no surprise when many of them want to come back to the program to work as a counselor. They looked up to past SYP counselors for guidance and saw them as positive role models—now they want to give back. These program alumni, along with our dedicated returning staff, are excited to recreate the positive and inviting environment they experienced with SYP and become leaders for new staff members.

Training, Training, Training!
Once our team is selected, the real fun begins! Before any participants arrive on campus, our full team goes through extensive training both in-person, online, and through independent reading. We utilize Expert Online Training sessions that include educational videos and quizzes to prepare staff about problem solving, bullies, becoming a youth development professional, cultivating patience, listening, safe talk and safe touch, helping students fit in, supervising, and more.

All staff then attend a week-long training the week before programs begin that covers: CPR/First Aid training, van certification, background checks, building security, fire drills, mandated reporter training, Title IX training, case studies, student/staff rules and expectations, inclusion conversations, and much more. Even after this week is over, the training never really ends. The best counselors know that they are always learning and growing as they meet new participants each week. Some even say they don’t want it to end.

“THE BEST JOB EVER. The best hours, the best coworkers, and the best professional staff. Everything about this job is great. We heard about the student who wrote for the story contest and she stated, ‘My only regret is not being able to do it again next summer,’ and that is so applicable to me as an employee. I had so much fun with the students and hearing about all of their projects, that the only sad part would be if I am only able to get this opportunity once. Hopefully I can be back at it next summer!”
– Sarah, 2018 SYP staff 

It doesn’t get much better.
As a professional staff, we are so grateful to the incredible student staff who are the heart and soul of SYP—especially to our returners and head staff, some of whom have dedicated three, four, or even more summers to inspiring young people. 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. Watching it all unfold; the friendships, the lessons learned, and the discovery of a career path they are passionate about, is what makes each year of planning all worth it.

Michigan Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Educational Institution/Equal Opportunity Employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.


Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking at Summer Camp

Have you ever wondered what it takes to start your own business? Got an idea for a product or innovation that you want to get going on? Love problem-solving?

If any of these questions sound like you or someone you know, consider a new exploration that Summer Youth Programs (SYP) is offering this year: From Idea to Market.

Created as a hybrid of two previous explorations (Be Your Own Boss and The World of Design), From Idea to Market is hosted jointly by Michigan Tech’s School of Business and Economics and the Pavlis Honors College. To get a first-hand account of how fun a course like this can be, we talked to current Michigan Tech student Sarah Smyth, who attended Be Your Own Boss when she was a high school student.

“I decided to try the business exploration because I wanted to see a bit of what business is like,” Smyth says. She notes that she enjoyed business-related courses in high school and wanted to explore the field further by coming to SYP.

From Idea to Market will cover many aspects of business as well as design thinking: a human-centered process for developing innovative solutions to life’s messy problems. Students will identify a problem they’d like to address and apply the design thinking process to create an innovative solution.

Students explore design thinking at The Alley, Michigan Tech's MakerSpace.
Students explore design thinking at The Alley, Michigan Tech’s MakerSpace.

The course will then dive into the basics of what it takes to start a business by applying the Lean Start-up process to develop a business model. Get ready to pitch your idea to a panel of judges—and you’ll have an opportunity to market your ideas right here on campus.

Don’t worry: no prior experience or knowledge is necessary to become a Michigan Tech SYP innovator and entrepreneur! Smyth’s experience highlights the fun of exploring a new potential major, noting that her favorite part was “the ability to try out my ideas, and talk to professors about their subjects of expertise.” It’s personal, too, and set her up for a great first-year experience as an undergraduate student at Michigan Tech: “I was given the opportunity to meet my future teachers and they still remembered me when I started [here] the following year.”

Students meet with a local business owner at KC Bonker’s toys and coffee.

What else does Sarah remember from her time at SYP outside of class? The experience of being on campus during the summer, making friends, and finding out what being a Husky is all about.

SYP has some of the best people you will ever meet. Everyone is so open and friendly. When going to the beach trip I forgot my swimsuit but a girl I never talked to before offered me her extra one and we got to hang out in the water together. The people here really do care about you and that’s what makes Michigan Tech such an amazing place to go.

We can’t wait to see some of you this June at From Idea to Market. If you’re like us and are already excited for SYP 2019, visit the online course listing to sign up today or request a mailed catalog. If you have any questions, you can always find us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


Hemlock Semiconductor Scholarships for Engineering Scholars Program

We are pleased to announce that Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (HSC) will once again be sponsoring 30 scholarships aimed at Michigan high schoolers from Midland, Saginaw, and Bay counties who have expressed an interest in STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) or have demonstrated scholastic success in those subjects.

2018 recipients of the award during a reception at HSC.
2018 recipients of the award during a reception at HSC.

Students must apply and be selected competitively; selected students will receive a scholarship valued at $1000 to cover the tuition, boarding, and transportation to attend the Engineering Scholars Program at Michigan Technological University. ESP is hosted every year by Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs; this year, it will be offered during the week of July 21–27, 2019. Throughout the week, students are exposed to 10+ types of engineering through group projects, engineering sessions, creative problem-solving activities, and special topic sessions.

Interested applicants should consider the following:

  • This award is for students who attend a school located in Midland, Bay, or Saginaw counties.
  • Eleventh grade students will be given first priority; high-performing ninth and tenth graders may also be considered.
  • All students should have an interest in STEM education or careers, and have demonstrated scholastic success in these subjects.
  • Michigan Technological University will review applications and select scholarship recipients based on merit.
  • At least one award will be guaranteed per school with applicants; more than one from a given school will be considered if additional spots remain.

Sound like you or someone you know? The overview and application contain many more details. You can also get more information about ESP by visiting the Competitive Scholarship Programs page of the SYP website and clicking on “Engineering Scholars Program.”

Questions about this award are welcome at the Summer Youth Programs office at 906-487-2219 or esp@mtu.edu.


Stay the Weekend: It’s More Than Just Engineering Camp!

If you’ve looked at our course catalog and wondered how to choose a program, we have good news for you: you don’t have to pick just one! If you wish to stay for more than one program in a row, we can save you the trip home and back, simply sign up to stay the weekend. Making the most of SYP involves both the classroom activities and getting to see more of the beautiful place Michigan Technological University calls home.  

Students who stay at SYP over the weekend (“stayovers”) get a unique chance to explore the wider Keweenaw and Upper Peninsula. Our Weekend Counselors chaperone excursions to places like: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore; Lake of the Clouds in Porcupine Mountains State Park; Adventure Mine; and the northern terminus of US-41, the town of Copper Harbor.

When not on these types of UP adventures, stayover students have a chance to relax and unwind in Houghton by going bowling, hanging out on campus, seeing a movie, visiting a local event or museum, or visiting downtown for dinner.

If you do choose to stay with us over the weekend, a stayover fee of $125 per weekend will cover room and board, supervision, meals (both in the dining hall and during away trips), and any applicable excursion expenses.

If you’re like us and are already excited for SYP 2019, visit the online course listing or  request a mailed catalog. If you have any questions, you can always find us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


Engineering Scholarships Expand to Answer Middle School Demand

By Cyndi Perkins | Originally Published 4:42 p.m., November 20, 2018

JWIE

The traditional season of giving — both thanks and gifts — is upon us. What better time to look back on a summer scholarship surprise that opened doors for 40 young women interested in engineering careers?

For more than 40 years, Michigan Tech Summer Youth Programs (SYP) has been offering experiences that stretch the boundaries of more traditional camps and put STEM education into action through team projects, on-campus activities and field trips. One of the most popular programs is Junior Women in Engineering (JWIE). JWIE is one of several highly competitive scholarship-funded programs that covers tuition, room and board. In 2018, 60 middle-school students applied to JWIE, which historically accepts 20 students.

When ITC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Jipping heard about the overwhelming interest and demand in the program, he proposed a solution: ITC Holdings Corp., an electricity transmission company based in Novi, Michigan, volunteered to cover the $40,000 cost for the remaining 40 young women to attend JWIE and other SYP engineering programs (there are several experiences to choose from).

“Mr. Jipping didn’t want the first message these girls received in pursuing engineering to be a ‘no,'” said Amanda Jackson, assistant director at Michigan Tech’s Center for Pre-College Outreach, which operates the SYP explorations and other college access programs that bring science, technology, engineering and math to K-12 students around the country and the world.

“ITC has long recognized the need for more young women to enter the engineering profession. It’s programs like this that quench the thirst for knowledge and help place students on the path to academic — and professional — success.”Jon Jipping, ITC Holdings

A group of young women with the front row kneeling and smiling in summer clothing inside a building on a college campus.
Ashley Simpson has been a part of Summer Youth Programs in three roles now: camper, counselor and mentor. (Michigan Tech Center for Pre-College Outreach)

The company also sent an ambassador — 2009 Michigan Tech graduate Ashley Simpson, a human performance specialist with ITC, returned to Houghton to chat with SYP campers and share what it’s like to work for the largest independent electricity transmission company in the country.

“As an alum of Summer Youth Programs, I know what a difference it can make in the lives of young women,” said Simpson, who attended SYP as a high school students and returned as a counselor during her studies at Michigan Tech. “My hope is that programs like this continue to provide opportunities for young women to grow and succeed while at school, as well as after graduation.”Ashley Simpson, ’09

 

Read the complete original story by visiting the Michigan Tech news page. 


Automotive Engineering Program Offered for High School Women

Exciting news from Summer Youth Programs—we have another scholarship opportunity for you!

Our friends in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department will be partnering with Dana Incorporated to bring back the Women in Automotive Engineering program this summer!

Women in Automotive Engineering (WIAE) is a competitive scholarship program and is essentially an investigation of careers in automotive engineering. WIAE provides an opportunity for academically talented young women to explore the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering within the automotive industry. Through projects and classroom investigations, the participants will build a better understanding of the importance of automotive engineering. Plan to explore real engineering labs; meet and interact with female leaders and role models; and take trips throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula—all while investigating career opportunities and meeting other talented students with similar interests.

Not only did I gain knowledge about majors and career choices, but I learned in a hands on environment, giving me an exciting learning experience. We even raced a go kart to test electric power vs. gas power. I got to work in a lab and was introduced to a variety of careers, showing me how many options my future holds.

Sanam P. from Columbus, OH, WIAE Participant

All selected participants will receive a scholarship made possible by Dana.

For more information and to download the application, visit the Competitive Scholarship Programs page of our website. We are thrilled to have this program back in the rotation for 2019!

If you’re like us and are already excited for SYP 2019, you can go ahead and request a catalog. That way, you will be among the first to receive the 2019 listings when they print. If you have any questions, you can always find us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.

 


Meet Nathalie Osborn: SYP and Michigan Tech Alumna

Nathalie Osborn ’95

We love hearing back from those who are alumni of both Michigan Tech and Summer Youth Programs. Whether you attended in 2012 or 1985, we want to hear from you! Please share your story with us!

From tomboy attending the Women in Engineering Program (WIE) in the 80s, to presenting as a guest speaker for the 2018 WIE attendees, this energized leader, coach, director and co-author is sure leave a positive impact on everyone she meets. Here is Natalie’s story.

Hometown: I grew up in Mount Pleasant, Michigan which is a university town. My dad was a college professor at Central Michigan University (CMU), so I was familiar with university life and my mom volunteered in schools but stayed at home.

Siblings: I am the oldest of three, with one brother and one sister.

Childhood Hobbies: We always went to CMU games, and my family was very active. We participated in cross country skiing, and I played softball and ran cross country. I also did enjoy reading a lot. In grade school, I always loved reading the biographies about people’s life and adventures, like Amelia Earhart and Teddy Roosevelt.

Favorite subject in School: Math, because it always had right answers. I also liked science. My high school physics professor was one of my favorite teachers. My school also had a vocational training program, so I had the opportunity to take architectural drafting and electrical wiring. I really loved the style of learning by doing.

Role models: My grandfather and I were super close and I could talk to him about anything. He was hands-on and a techy person, and he taught me many things. I was a tomboy growing up and he embraced that and encouraged me to learn. Even at a young age I remember him telling me “I could be anything, have anything, or do anything I wanted.” He really was a great role model for me, and I am not sure I would have been as confident going into engineering without his support.

How did you learn about WIE and why did you attend? My father found out about the Women in Engineering Program and he knew I liked math and science so he encouraged me to attend. I thought why not! I will say I didn’t know how far north it was going to be! I remember that it was a great summer. I went to the program but we also took time to explore the UP. I remember hiking, seeing waterfalls, and it was just a great chance to see the beauty of the UP.

What do you recall about your week at WIE? The whole experience, especially being on a college campus, staying in the dorms, and eating in the dining hall helped me to see what the college experience would be like. I remember being excited to get to know women from other schools with the same interests. It was such a fun and energetic environment and a chance to explore all engineering disciplines and learn in a hands-on way.

College: I attended a 2+2 engineering program with Michigan Tech and Central Michigan University for mechanical engineering. I went to CMU from 1990-92, maybe because the distance from home to Michigan Tech did scare me a bit. The 2+2 program was great. We had about 15-20 people in that program and most transferred to Michigan Tech after the first few years. We took all the pre-engineering courses together so we became close. I recall heading up to Michigan Tech with three others from the program piled into a car, to check out campus.

Once I did get to Michigan Tech and I started classes, I remember wishing I would have come up here for all four years! My favorite memory at Michigan Tech was winter carnival. I remember that one group had a life size search and rescue scene, with an ambulance and all! The atmosphere of that carnival, all the people engineering statues together, building and have fun. I love how this school embraces winter.

What are some milestones or great moments in your career you’d like to share? My first job was at Automotive Perception and a few other Michigan Tech grads were working there too. It was a job where we traveled the country and went into auto plants and installed laser cameras and windshields on cars. What I think is unique about this job is that I am still friends with a lot of the people I worked with and it overall was a unique experience. I also worked with Ford and helped with the hydrogen fuel cell in a car they were unleashing at an auto show in 2001. Then, I went into the energy industry and worked on the California Solar Initiative with the California Public Utilities Commission to help launch that program. It was a huge project and I feel grateful to have been a part of it. I am currently the Director of Smart Grid Initiatives at NextEnery Center, a nonprofit in Detroit.

Michigan Tech did a great job preparing me to be an adaptable and versatile engineer. I went into mechanical engineering but have been able to have flexibility in my roles through that field.

You are the co-author of a book. What is it about and what was that experience like? I am the co-author of “Ignite Your Leadership: Proven Tools for Leaders to Energize Teams, Fuel Momentum, and Accelerate Results.” I always thought it would be fun to write a book and wrote a chapter for this book. In the book, I use engineering terms to showcase how I power myself, the “kW” of leadership – know who you are, what you want, and why you want it. I was also shocked and humbled that the book made the bestseller list in US and Canada.

You came back to Michigan Tech as a guest speaker during the 2018 WIE etiquette dinner. What was that experience like? I really loved it and welcome the opportunity again. It was amazing to come full circle and talk to a group of young women who are learning about engineering programs. They are in a great place with so many paths in front of them. I enjoyed crafting a message talking to them about how an engineering degree is great to get, but even if you don’t pursue that path, you can power your life however you want. I am very fortunate for all the opportunities I have had in life both based off choices and encouragement from others.

 


What’s New in 2019?

SYP 2019 registration is now live, which means it is already time to start thinking about plans for next June and July. For some of you, this might be your first time even hearing about SYP—welcome! For others, this might be your second, third, or even fifth summer visiting Michigan Tech during the summer. Whatever your experience is with SYP, we want to make sure you know what courses are new this year.

Calling All Writers
Offered in partnership with the Humanities department
Where can writing take you? Join us to explore different types of writing and a variety of writing careers, including creative writing, technical writing, and writing for digital media platforms. Meet working writers, have your work critiqued by peers and professionals, and polish up a piece to submit for publication.

Engineering Technology 101
Offered in partnership with the School of Technology
Do you prefer learning by doing? Do you gain the most rewards from trying things out instead of reading about them in books? Explore a variety of engineering technology disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, cybersecurity, construction management and surveying engineering. Discover how to machine and shape metal, learn how to build your own sensor circuit, defend against cyberhacks, design and plan a small building, and operate a drone to collect surveying data among other adventures. You’ll work in teams to learn with your hands through various engineering technology challenges.

From Idea to Market
Offered as a partnership between the Pavlis Honors College and the School of Business and Economics
Come and learn the innovation design process used by companies like Google and Apple to create the next great product or service. This program will introduce you to the exciting world of design thinking… a human-centered process for developing innovative solutions to life’s messy problems. Students will identify a problem they’d like to address and apply the design thinking process to create an innovative solution. From there, you will learn the basics of what it takes to start a business by applying the Lean Start-up process to develop a business model, you’ll pitch your idea to a panel of judges, and you’ll have an opportunity to market your ideas right here on campus. Each day of the week you’ll learn different innovation and business start-up skills through a variety faculty and student-led activities.

Other updates you may notice on the course catalog: Civil Engineering has been renamed to “Building a Better World: Civil Engineering.” Additionally, we are thrilled to announce that sponsorship has enabled us to offer two weeks of Junior Women in Engineering! We are always announcing new and exciting programs, so stay tuned as summer approaches for more information.

If you’re like us and are already excited for SYP 2019, you can go ahead and request a catalog. That way, you will be among the first to receive the 2019 listings when they print. If you have any questions, you can always find us at syp@mtu.edu or by phone at 906-487-2219.


2019 Summer Youth Programs Applications are Now Open!

An Adventure Awaits! 
Our students build robots, explore engineering, analyze mock crime scenes, launch rockets, and even inspect ecosystems. With 50+ explorations offered this year, middle and high schoolers can choose their own adventure this summer! Some new courses for 2019 include Calling all Writers (an introduction to writing across disciplines), From Idea to Market (combining design thinking and entrepreneurship) and Engineering Technology 101 (a deep dive into the technology disciplines).

From Michigan Technological University’s first programs in 1972 to now, we share the college experience and the excitement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Are you ready for an adventure?  Sign up now!

View the full 2019 course catalog at mtu.edu/syp/discover/courses


Words of Wisdom from a WIE Alumna

We recently received a surprise message from a Women in Engineering (WIE) alumna, Margaret O’Neil, who attended one of our first years of this program. In her message, she recalled coming to the program at a young age and how it solidified her decision to become an automotive engineer. We just had to know more about her career and life; here is more of her story.

WIE Alumna, Margaret O’Neill

Question: Where are you from? How far did you have to travel to attend WIE?

Answer: At the time I traveled from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (which is near Detroit) to attend the camp.  

Q: You said in your email that WIE solidified your decision to pursue automotive engineering. What do you remember from that week?

A: I remember being excited about being able to test and feel materials, the hands-on aspects to working with things and beginning to understand how they work—Playing around with the pieces and learning as I went.

I always liked playing around and learning how things worked, and I was good at it. Growing up, I was the youngest of seven kids, with my older siblings mostly moved out of the house. So if things broke or didn’t work in the house, I ended up being the one to fix it. Not sure how I figured it out, but I even fixed the lawn mower once. I attribute my path to the WIE program, as it was my real first chance to try engineering out.  

Q: What about automotive engineering hooked you? What do you love most about your field?

A: When I first went to Marquette University [in Milwaukee, WI], it was to become biomedical engineer— I wanted to work with ergonomics.  I wasn’t good at 3D side of it, but electronics I understood, like how things moved and flowed.

For example: when looking at a car, I explained it just like a big body. Being able to see electrons and how they move and systems go together was the best thing about going into automotive.  

Q: Did you take any special classes or steps in high school to prepare?

A: I did, I took five semesters of biology, chemistry class, and all the math I could, except for calculus (not sure why!). I remember I didn’t need that many credits my senior year and had a job doing cancer research at Marygrove College for a few hours a day.

I also worked at a gas station pumping gas and had a job parking cars. Whatever there was to do with cars, I guess I was there.

Q: Do you have any role models or mentors?

A: I struggle to find one in my life, but perhaps my mother. She ran the household while my father worked at Ford Motor Company and she kept us all going. Also my brother, as he always had a car in the driveway and was rebuilding them and let me watch. When I graduated, only 4 out of 186 girls in my high school class were planning to go into engineering. Now, I do a lot of speaking about females and non traditional careers and encouraging them into automotive in career tech and other schools.

Q: What surprised you the most about about your field and career over the years?

A: I rolled well with the technology changes over the years, and even started my own computer company building hardware, software and networks. I basically design projects and others execute them.  I also have completed lots of training over the years.

Q: Any other words of wisdom you want shared with future engineers?

A: Don’t go into something just for money, or prestige: really see yourself doing it for 50 years. If you have fun when working, it won’t seem like a job. That’s why I haven’t retired!