Author: amandaja

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

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!

SYP 2018 Dates Announced

The Summer Youth Programs staff is excited to announce that we have sketched out our calendar for 2018. SYP exploration dates for specific classes/explorations are not yet set, but you can use the dates below to start thinking about what your summer 2018 will look like.

Summer Youth Programs week 1: June 17-23, 2018
Summer Youth Programs week 2: June 24-30, 2018
Summer Youth Programs week 3: July 8-14, 2018
Summer Youth Programs week 4: July 15-21, 2018
Engineering Scholars Program/Women in Computer Science: July 22-28, 2018
Women in Engineering: July 29-August 4, 2018
(Yes, we are bringing back 4 weeks of Summer Youth Programs courses!)

We will announce the specific dates for programs like Rail & Intermodal Transportation, National Summer Transportation Institute, Women in Automotive Engineering, and other specific courses a little later this fall.

We are excited about 2018 and are busily working on new offerings for you!

Please check back for more information soon!

Thank You Letters

We received many thank you letters from our Summer Youth Program students who joined us over the summer. Here are a few of the highlights:

I came into this program looking for a final answer as to if I should pursue engineering or not. The engineering program at my school is awful, so I came here to get an idea of what real engineers do. And I fell in love. Look, without this program I’m sure I would have never considered engineering as a career. Now, I’m making plans to study electrical engineering. With how few women are in that field, meeting all these girls with similar interests was incredible, enlightening and inspiring. I wouldn’t have been able to experience that without you. So, thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, and for my future.

Rebecca, WIE Participant from Pewaukee, WI

This week was an amazing opportunity that has opened my eyes. I came to Michigan Tech expecting a giant room filled with students and a teacher waving a stick at a board but I ended up receiving a one-on-one learning experience with high quality equipment. The earning environment was competitive, fun and educational, with wonderful mentors. It was nothing I expected, even the people. I went to Michigan Tech, a college in the U.P., 10 hours away from home, and never felt uncomfortable or home sick. Everyone was welcoming and understanding. I even made a new friend, Elizabeth. This was a new experience that I could have never been on if it wasn’t for my sponsor.

Nuha, DHDC Participant from Dearborn, MI

When I received my acceptance letter I was so ecstatic that I would get to participate in this amazing course. The discipline of engineering that stuck out to me the most was biomedical engineering. Without your help, I would have never been able to find my passion for this career path. The explorations during the day were so engaging that I didn’t want to leave the classroom! During this course we made slime, gliders, and prosthetic legs, did egg drops, built bridges, and toured many labs. Thank you so much for sponsoring me!

Mackenzie, JWIE Participant from Norway, MI

I was so glad that I took this program, I learned so many things about the different types of engineering. My favorite types of engineering from this week was chemical, biomedical, and geological. This week I learned how to make a prosthetic leg out of shoelaces, a plunger and a sponge. I also made a trinket witch was made from molten tin that we got to put in ourselves. The teachers this program changed my perspective on engineering. They taught me how to see things in a different way, collaborate and always ask questions. This program has changed my life for the better.

Bobbi-Jo, JWIE Participant from Parkland, FL

This week I have been combining E.coli bacteria cells with DNA. We’ve been putting our germs in different temperatures and mixing them with different things. I’ve learned so much more about all of the machines used in the medical field and how hard the process of getting them approved is. I also have learned how long new medicines take to make. We are so fortunate to have people that work hard everyday and never give up, just so others can live better lives. This has helped me see a whole new side of the medical field and I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity. I came here nervous, not knowing anyone, but this helped me push myself out of my comfort zone. I know the relationships I made will last a lifetime.

Rainy, SYP Participant from Waupaca, WI

This program truly had a profound impact on me. I found what I am passionate about while making some amazing memories along the way. I want to study computer science with the hopes of becoming a systems database engineer. I have always had an interest in engineering, but I have never had an opportunity to pursue it more. This program gave me that experience, and it changed my life. I have found inspiration and motivation for my future. It has empowered me as a woman in engineering. I will always remember this camp as a stepping stone to my future life and career. It has given me the tools I need to succeed in my goals in life.

Kathryn, WIE Participant from Ovid, MI