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2017 Summer Engineering and Construction Camp

2017 Summer Engineering and Construction Camp - Air Force Academy

Another successful summer of student engineering camps. We had a couple of students send in a letter of appreciation and summary of their experience this summer at the SAME Air Force Academy STEM Camp. Here are their letters (click here to see photos):

Dear SAME JAX,

I am sincerely honored to have been selected as a scholarship recipient and attendee of the SAME Air Force Academy Engineering and Construction STEM Camp. Thank you for your generosity. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended such an esteemed camp. I thoroughly enjoyed this camp and found it to be an invaluable learning experience. Since the ASVAB suggested I study engineering I have been researching the various types and uses of engineering in the military but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would see a piece of aluminum metal stretched past its tensile strength while a computer automatically recorded every detail in an excel document or observe someone as they hacked into a video camera step-by-step. My Mom is a massage therapist and for 10 years of my life it was just her and I until she met my step-dad, a school teacher. The type of things covered at the Air Force Academy Camp just weren’t in my realm of possibilities before. This January I will start the application process to the military academies as a Junior at Allen D. Nease High school. As I face these lengthy application procedures I am even more excited to serve my country in the military and become part of this big family. 

We toured several of the departments at the Air Force Academy. Among them were the flight simulators, athletic facilities, and the UAV, computer engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, aeronautical engineering, aerospace engineering, and electrical engineering labs

In the UAV lab we got to see several of the drones and models they had built and flown. In the electrical lab we got to go in an anechoic chamber and also see some things that they had been working on using solar panels. In the computer lab we got to watch on a projector screen how a cadet used search engines and the coding of the cameras’ network to access video from a camera in the room. We got to learn the basic plane controls in the flight simulator. In the mechanical engineering lab they demonstrated the use of a machine that tests the tensile strength of substances to determine the identity of it. The substance they tested was a piece of aluminum and some of us got to take home the broken pieces. In the civil lab we learned about the kind of substances they would analyze and how they would do so. In the chemical lab we got to see what certain substances would look like under a microscope and learned about what a chemical engineer in the military might work on. In the aeronautics lab we learned the names for the different directions of orientation for aircraft and got to see the wind tunnel. In the aerospace lab we got to see satellites the students had made and learned about an event the program played a significant role in.

We were told prior to camp to design and be prepared to build a dog house. This was my first experience building anything so I carefully researched how to design and build a dog house. My dog house design was chosen and used by the team. It was great and the dog houses we built were given to the human society. We also designed a cardboard boat and raced it in the pool. Our boat was one of the sturdiest because of the pontoons and how thoroughly we wrapped it in plastic wrap. Five people tried to sink it at once and it still stayed afloat. I was selected to lead the team on the sprinkler project and it was an outstanding learning opportunity.

I am really good at math and following instructions, this camp took me out of my comfort zone and had me creating on the fly allowing me to grow in amazing ways. I understand now why they wanted us to watch old episodes of Macgyver. When I do group projects at school, I usually do most of the work because I care about my grade and I enjoy school. At the Air Force camp I was surrounded by other hardworking smart kids who cared and wanted to win! I felt like I found my place and my people being around like minded kids.

My mentor Commander Ryan Murphy, Coast Guard, was gifted at explaining post project alternative solutions and how much we could learn from our mistakes  I am in awe of how many great military leaders like Brigadier General Melancon take the time to inspire and encourage high school students! Thank you again for assisting me in learning about potential future careers in engineering in the Military.

Sincerely,

Sinead Georganna Morgan

 

SAME Jax,

I went to the U.S. Air Force Academy to learn about engineering, but I came out knowing so much more. Until I arrived at camp, I had only focused on the mathematical and theoretical aspect of engineering, so I was anxious to be the one in my flight who had little knowledge of tools. The week, full of building projects and exercises, was eye opening, to say the least. While I was driving nails and drawing up sketches, I felt independence and confidence that I was actually building something real and not just imagining it in my head. The camp was an experience that was new and exciting, and it definitely encouraged me to pursue a career in STEM. The camp was physically, mentally, and socially demanding, and I loved every second of it. Although I learned plenty about engineering and the Air Force through lectures and tours, the most formative experience of the camp was creating lasting friendships with my flight mates. We learned how to work as a team and discovered each other's strengths and weaknesses. We took turns being the project manager, and respected everyone's ideas. We were also not afraid to have some fun, for it sparked our most creative ideas. I would like to thank the SAME post of Jacksonville for sponsoring me to participate in the Engineering and Construction Camp at USAFA. The knowledge I gained during camp helped me grow as a thinker and a leader. The combination of learning engineering and team building truly made the camp a formative experience I want to share with future campers. I hope many more students may experience this program so they can learn about the to help further the field of engineering.

Thank you,

Courtney Dantzler