Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Mission accomplished for Rock Creek STEM campers

Story by Janis Nichols. Photo by Melissa Padilla Duke.

Twenty-five high school students and five middle school students engaged in hands-on electronics and computer science activities at the June 15-19 STEM Summer Camp sponsored by Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus and Intel Corporation. The June event served as the “grand finale” for the program started last December.

An aerial photo by Zippy the drone of the STEM campers at the Rock Creek Campus.

An aerial photo by Zippy the drone of the STEM campers at the Rock Creek Campus.

Rock Creek instructors Dorina Cornea-Hasegan (microelectronics) and Gayathri Iyer (computer science) designed the week-long curriculum and served as the camp’s teachers. The early workshops and the camp staff welcomed minority and under-represented high school students from Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Tigard.

“The focus was to learn new technologies through hands-on experiments,” Cornea-Hasegan said. “The students learned about electronics and wearable electronics, how to print with a 3D printer and how to program with an Arduino. They learned how to control and launch their new friend Zippy the drone.”

Zippy was also used to launch a small satellite called a CanSat, which is the size of a soda can. The CanSat allowed campers to collect and then analyze data describing acceleration, temperature, pressure, humidity and even the map of the flight based on the GPS connected to it.

Many of the students had participated in earlier STEM workshops at Rock Creek and surveys indicate the series of activities had a positive effect on shaping their plans for college.

“I noticed that in the surveys they answered back in December and February, many of them answered ‘undecided’ when asked ‘What would you like to do after you finish high school?’” Cornea-Hasegan added. “But at the end of the STEM camp, there was not a single ‘undecided’ answer. All of the students answered the same question with a STEM-related profession, including electrical engineering or computer science. For us, that means mission accomplished.”


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