When I was in highschool, flooded with promotional material for colleges, I received an outstanding flyer for a summer program called "Operation Catapult" at Rose-Hulman. I was toying with idea of engineering because, being female and interested in science, I was getting a lot of pressure from teachers and college spokespeople. I applied and went to the camp. This was a single great event in my life; though it was dorky and taught me that my scientific interest was pure (I couldn't be an engineer) I had a great time. I encourage prospective engineers to try this camp and this school; it's the best way I can imagine to introduce you to the world of engineering. Plus, it's fun in an academic sort of way(yes that's possible!,) you'll meet great kids, and...hint hint...it's a great way to meet some professors from Rose and get your foot solidly in the door.
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Operation Catapult is a three week camp at Rose-Hulman institute of Technology. The college is one of the best in the country for engineering and it's students of mechanical engineering often intern for the Indiana 500. There is always a need for engineers, and if this feild interests you, but you aren't sure what your getting into, this summer camp is great. It introduced me to engineering and to Rose.
Rose is located in Terra Haute, Indiana. It's a very small school set in deep forest. Though the school is only for engineering, it is an interesting school...it does not lack in the arts. There is scupture and art everywhere....but it's got a scientific bent. You'll find yourself in a courtyard that's looks neat, but stand in the right spot and you're in a whispering gallery...the walls are acoustically designed to amplify your voice at the focal points, marked in the concrete, of the courtyard! Also, there are rails everywhere....connected so "rail runners" can be designed and programmed to race eachother around the buildings!
The summer camp consists of daily lectures, classes, and a project which is researched and learned in small groups with a professor and then delivered to the camp in presentation for at the end. The lectures are introductions to different aspects of engineering and some get rather specific. Classes are focused on introducing kids to the various computer programs that one needs in engineering, as well as madatory programming classes.
The projects are varied-- you can take one of the suggested ones, or make up your own. Some kids designed Hovercrafts or rail runners, others made robots, their own speakers, or holograms. Quite a few opted to design a bridge or a catapult and competed at the end to see which one worked the best. I worked with lasers, but my project was more of a study; other studies included biodegradable plastics or concrete that floats. During the project parts, the groups were given an advisor, a professor at the college that specializes in that specific area, for specific instruction and guidance...but largely the groups are on their own. At the end, we were taught how to give a scientific presentation, using power point.
There was also a day that simply explained all the different engineering majors, what they entailed and the jobs they provided. Also, we took a trip to some local factories to see where engineers work and what they do all day.
Ultimately, it taught me I didn't want to be an engineer. I had a great time though. They fill your days with activities including paintball, spelunking in local caves, a wacky scavenger hunt, and a game called "Assasin" that had kids hiding in their dorms for days. It also was pretty good introduction to college life. You live in the dorms, eat at the cafeteria, have an RA with only slightly stricter rules than the normal students have. My RA was also active in the Greek system at Rose, so she talked about it a great deal.
I met tons of great friends, future engineers and otherwise; geeks, people only in it for the money, and otherwise. Overall, I consider it one of my favorite memories.
Note: please ignore the ratings below, I can't really judge not being a student there...
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