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Camp Allows Kids to Explore Engineering: Pierce County

Engineering professor Philip O’Leary directs Camp Badger, an immersive experience in engineering.

July 22, 2016
Eva Parks

Ever since her sister attended Camp Badger two years ago, 13-year-old Eva Parks has been looking forward to doing the same. The camp, run by UW–Madison’s College of Engineering, brings eighth-graders to the UW-River Falls campus for a week to explore the field of engineering.

“I’m pretty good in math and science,” says Parks, who was one of dozens of attendees.

Camp Badger is directed by Phillip O’Leary Philip O’Leary ’70, MS’71, PhD’89, a professor of engineering and professional development at UW-Madison. The goal of the camp is to give the children a true sense of what engineers do.

The schedule for attendees was intense. Each day’s agenda featured 12 hours of activities. Fortunately, the camp didn’t keep the students cooped up in the lab all day. Throughout the week, there were field trips to engineering firms in the area.

I really enjoyed it and I can see myself going into biomedical engineering.

“My favorite trip was to a biomedical center that developed pacemakers,” says Parks. “I also liked the waste-treatment center. It’s amazing how they can take waste and make clear water out of it.”

Camp Badger provided students with more than just math, science, and engineering lessons. It also gave young people a taste of campus life.

“We stayed in dorms,” says Parks. “My roommate was friendly, and I studied with other friends I met.”

And, if this young scholar’s feelings are any indicator, Camp Badger was a success.

“I really enjoyed it,” says Parks, “and I can see myself going into biomedical engineering.”

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