Author: amandaja

2019 SYP Story Contest

Thank you to everyone who shared their SYP story with us for the 2019 SYP Story Contest. This is always a tough decision but we do enjoy hearing about so many great memories! Here are our winning entries that will be featured in the 2020 SYP Catalog!

Congratulations to Hailey G. for being our winner for the 2019 SYP Story Contest, Middle School level.

Here is Hailey’s story: 
“My name is Hailey and I was extremely excited to go to Junior Women in Engineering (JWIE) sponsored by ITC Holdings because I didn’t know what field of engineering I want to pursue a career in. JWIE showed me insight into my future career options. This experience let me meet other crazy smart girls with the same interests. Getting to design prosthetic legs, building gliders, and making ice cream taught me about just a few of the many fields of engineering. I even got to learn about engineering off campus when we toured Quincy Mine, the wastewater treatment plant, and more.  JWIE also allowed me to experience college life. Staying in the dorms, eating in the dining hall, and having class in actual classrooms and touring labs. Making fast food runs, attending the variety show, attending the block party, and going to Walmart were just a few of the many evening college life experiences. Spending time with other like-minded girls, and with what I learned at JWIE I am now more certain about my future and want to be either an electrical or computer engineer. I think that everyone should experience SYP before college. SYP is an excellent opportunity to be able to experience Michigan Tech and see some of the amazing opportunities that it has to offer. Experiencing what life has to offer after completing high school as a middle schooler will help me make smarter decisions about my future higher education. I really hope I can attend SYP next year!”

Congratulations to Sarah H. for being our winner for the 2019 SYP Story Contest, High School level.

Here is Sarah’s story: 
“There was just something about the whole experience I can hardly describe with words. I met so many wonderful, intelligent people, I got a glimpse of the incredible opportunities the Michigan Tech campus has to offer, and I feel that for once in my life I finally know what I want to do with my life. I want to go out and explore every corner of the world, like we did on all the excursions every evening; I now know that I have the capability to do just that during my time at college with study abroad programs. I want to work with my hands, just like we did blacksmithing and casting metal; I can easily get a grip on some hands-on work by majoring in mechanical engineering technologies, a major that dabbles in a bit of everything I love. I want to keep improving, to get better at being myself, so that I can be more prepared for the future. I think this experience was one of the first steps in that process. I had more fun in two weeks than I would have spending my summer at home. If I had to just pick one favorite part, I’d choose the whole thing! So for anyone even considering a program like this, do it! No one will experience it the same, but it’s guaranteed to be a great time.”

 


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.


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.


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.


SYP Course Feature: From Idea to Market

Attention students in 9-11 grades who have a business idea! Come and learn the innovation design process used by companies like Google and Apple to create the next great product or service. The “From Idea to Market” exploration 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. No prior experience or knowledge is necessary to become a Michigan Tech SYP innovator and entrepreneur!

This course is offered in partnership with Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honor College and the School of Business and Economics.


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.


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. 


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.