College of Engineering invites future innovators to Summer Virtual Academy

Under normal circumstances, Wayne State University welcomes more than 500 elementary, middle and high school students to its campus from June through August for the College of Engineering Summer Academy. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 version of Wayne State's engineering and computer science camps are being offered virtually starting in July.

The robust series of courses, offered to students aged 7 to 17, aims to inspire the next generation of innovators that will revolutionize industries, stimulate the economy, enhance the country's global competitiveness, and revitalize and sustain the local community.

The Summer Virtual Academy introduces pre-college students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) resources. It is comprised of one-week, age-appropriate sessions geared toward students' varied interests and strengths. Courses are comprised of live two-hour instructions as well as virtual speakers, social events, tours, games and challenges.

Students will have opportunities for peer collaboration and self-paced project development. Daily live virtual office hours will be available to help students with their projects.

Wayne State Summer Virtual Academy

"Even though we will miss having students on campus, we are excited about offering a virtual summer program," said Jasmine Roberson, director of community engagement and outreach program specialist for the College of Engineering. "There will be an enthusiastic staff of instructors and counselors ready to motivate youth interest in engineering and computer science."

Students aged 7 to 9 will gain basic proficiency in such domains as coding, game design and movie making, while participants aged 10 to 12 will be introduced to areas that include web design, photography and robotics. Options for students aged 13 to 17 include cyber security and artificial intelligence.

The Summer Virtual Academy is particularly valuable for students that want to improve performance in STEM subjects or get a head start on preparing to transition to middle school, high school or college. Common threads between all of the courses include pathways for students to build confidence and work outside of their comfort zones, get ideas for potential careers and maintain a level of productivity that curbs summer learning loss.

Partnerships with such industry leaders as DTE, Ford Motor Company, Google, General Motors and Microsoft bolster the program's offerings. The success of the Summer Virtual Academy will be aided by collaboration with the educational community including K-12 schools, universities, nonprofit organizations, government entities and other campus programs.

College of Engineering students, alumni, faculty and staff, along with industry professionals, will lead groups of up to 10 students per course through the various modules and provide valuable mentorship. These leaders are often volunteers motivated by a passion for learning and discovery as well as a desire to energize future Warriors and young people in Detroit and surrounding communities.

Registration for the 2020 Summer Academy is ongoing. Each session is $200 and students may be registered for multiple sessions. Participants must have a reliable Internet connection as well as a computer (PC or Mac) and a webcam.

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