Summer camp introduces STEM-minded high schoolers to CEE

8/2/2021 Kristina Shidlauski

Written by Kristina Shidlauski

High school girls at a 2018 CEE summer camp.
High school girls at a 2018 CEE summer camp.

A group of 22 STEM-minded high schoolers are gathering virtually this week for the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) summer camp. The camp is part of the Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Program (WYSE) High School Summer Camps at The Grainger College of Engineering.

The theme of the CEE camp is “Addressing Societal Challenges” and includes session topics that fall into the categories of Sustainable Structures, Air and Water Quality, Traffic Simulations and Artificial Intelligence, Renewable Energy and Sustainable Materials. Throughout the week, campers will attend virtual sessions, conducted via Zoom, and participate in ice breakers, topical lectures, project breakouts, discussions and hands-on activities.

"I hope that leaving the camp the students will have a solid understanding of what the field of civil and environmental engineering is about and how it serves old and emerging societal needs," said senior lecturer and research scientist Sotiria Koloutsou-Vakakis. "During the camp, students are able to see the multiple facets of CEE engineering and how CEE engineers contribute to the development of sustainable and resilient infrastructure by combining solid scientific knowledge about the natural environment and good understanding of socioeconomic drivers."

In addition to Koloutsou-Vakakis, several CEE at Illinois faculty are assisting with the camp and leading virtual sessions, including associate professors Mani Golparvar and Na Wei, and assistant professors Ann Sychterz, Frank LombardoAlireza Talebpour, Roman Makhnenko and Nishant Garg. Professor John Popovics,  CEE Associate Head and Director of Undergraduate Studies, is the camp coordinator. 

"The virtual platform offered us the option to be able to offer the camp despite the pandemic conditions," Koloutsou-Vakakis said. "In this sense, we are fortunate to have this option available under adverse circumstances. In my opinion, the virtual version can be as powerful as the in-person one, in terms of the information flow and providing students with access to us for presenting snapshots about studying in CEE and becoming a CEE professional."

The camp runs from August 1 – August 5, 2021.


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This story was published August 2, 2021.