MechSE campers experience mechanical engineering across the spectrum


Photos by Miranda Holloway and Stephanie Ott-Monsivais

At this summer's fourth annual “GBAM” camp (Girls Building Awesome Machines) and second annual “Exploring MechSE” coed camp, nearly 50 campers were immersed in the wide variety of fields in mechanical engineering. 
GBAM is part of the GAMES camps hosted by the College of Engineering, and took place in and around Mechanical Engineering Lab the week of June 19-25. Exploring MechSE followed a week later.
Education Outreach Coordinator Joe Muskin and many graduate students, along with MechSE professors Elif Ertekin and Matt West, led the campers through activities that included building a prosthetic arm or leg, testing the dynamics of polymers for sporting equipment, experiencing a cleanroom, learning about bio-inspired robots and UAVs, and the dynamics of microfluidics. They also took field trips to the Caterpillar facility and local startup IntelliWheels (created by a MechSE alumnus), both at the University of Illinois Research Park.
Throughout the week the campers also constructed their own 3D printers from scratch, using hand tools and laser cutters to build the hardware, then learning to design and program the motors and creating a user interface. 
Campers came from across the state of Illinois as well as Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, California, New Jersey, Iowa, Michigan, and Massachusetts—as well as from Kingston, Jamaica, and Delhi, India!