65 local middle, high school students spend summer learning

After spending seven weeks preparing, Shiyeon Kim, along with 64 other young geniuses, was finally ready to race robots.

Del Mar College’s Corpus Christi Prefreshman Engineering Program summer camp provided sixth- through ninth-graders with the opportunity to get a head start in science and mathematics, with curriculum emphasizing work in computer science and engineering.IMG_4095

“It’s very hands on, which is great,” said Shiyeon, a 10th grade Ray High School student.

The camp was free to participants thanks to donations by Flint Hills Resources, which presented a $51,000 robot-shaped check to the program on July 18 at the West Campus Emergency Training Building.

IMG_4086“By the time we get to the end of the program the students are so excited and we’re really happy with the projects,” program Director James Shollenberger said. “Flint Hills provided an influx of technology, and the program is as great as ever.”

After the unveiling of the check, students demonstrated their custom robot projects through races, and performed strength tests for bridges made of straws.

The rigorous program presents an educational challenge for its participants, many of whom return as mentors to younger participants.

IMG_4043“It’s such an incredible thrill to not just see them grow as people and students, but to come back and give back to the program by mentoring,” Shollenberger said.

Participants learn from architects and engineers that hard work and dedication are important aspects to building something, said Julian Gardean, an eighth-grade student at Branch Academy.

“It’s been a lot more fun spending our summer learning than staying home playing video games,” Julian said.

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