Middle and high school students in Hampton Roads got a taste of college learning with exposure to 3-D printing, computer-numerical control machines, computer-aided design, crime scene investigation, creative writing, wildlife and the environment.
In all, about 130 students participated in a TCC camp this summer.
“We had several goals with this summer’s program,” President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani said. “We wanted to provide more sessions, and we wanted a greater focus on career exploration.”
She added, “I’ve heard positive reviews from our campers, so that will make us want to expand the camps even more for next summer. We hope we can engage some local businesses in supporting our efforts. After all, these students may be their future employees.”
The Chesapeake Campus hosted a Maker Camp for the first time this year.
“Being a ‘maker’ involves seeing a need, thinking creatively, solving problems and finding solutions,” said Thomas Stout, dean of science, technology, engineering and math programs at the Chesapeake Campus.
Makers learned to use 3-D printers, laser cutters and computer numerical control machines to bring their projects to life. The camp introduced basic electrical and mechanical design to develop different projects, and spark students’ interest in careers in mechatronics, advanced manufacturing and related careers.
“I’m glad I came to the Maker camp. I’ve never been able to use this type of technology, and now I have a whole new world of possibilities to create things,” said Brenna Peko, a student at Western Branch High.
All camps were taught by TCC faculty and personalized for each camper, who received a free career interest assessment an interest assessment at the end to evaluate future career goals and related possible college majors.
Laney Sheridan, a rising seventh-grader at Kemps Landing/Old Donation School, was part of the summer writing camp on the Virginia Beach Campus. Campers explored writing genres, wrote and performed their own rap and culminated the week with a one-act original production.
“Everyone needs basic skills like writing, so this camp helps with anything you want to do,” she said. “I like that we do different things other than write, like act.”
“It’s a great creative outlet,” said Sonia Howell, a rising sixth-grader at Virginia Beach Friends School.
Professor Rick James, head of TCC’s Administration of Justice program, led a “Crime Scene Investigation” section as part of the Young Explorers camp on the Portsmouth Campus that introduced terms like fracture matching, impression evidence and search patterns. Campers pieced together evidence from a crime scene, drew the scene on a board as professionals would and each had fingerprints made.
Camp Osprey encouraged campers to explore the great outdoors, area wildlife, and related careers in biological sciences and the environment. An island on the wetlands of TCC’s Chesapeake Campus is an was the ideal location for hiking and science experiments.
“We do a lot of animal-related activities, but the highlight is the unstructured time hiking around the campus wetlands,” said Lisa Behm, professor of biology and the faculty lead for the camp. “We do a lot of bird watching, and look for native wildlife, including foxes, deer, raccoons, and even a family of otters that live in the marsh.”
Bethany Fiske, a Camp Osprey enthusiast for four years and a rising sixth-grader at Azalea Garden Middle School, added, “I like all of the activities we do in the classroom, but my favorite time is when we go to the island to explore. I like everything here. I want to work with animals for a career.”
A career exploration camp on the Virginia Beach Campus exposed campers to careers from engineering to law enforcement to computer repair to science to health care. A show at the TCC Planetarium inside the Science Building and a hunt for treasure using electronics capped the week.
TCC camps for summer 2016 will be announced early next year!