A Summer Program Built for the Future

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The group of CIT campers posing in front of the Elements of Success, a periodic table with donor names

The College of Innovation & Technology (CIT) kicked off summer on June 22 and 23 by welcoming students from over 25 high schools around Mid-Michigan for the Innovation & Technology Scholars Program. This was the first summer program for CIT since the college officially opened its doors to students in fall 2021.

The program was split into two themed days, packed full of activities ranging from building leadership skills to building wind turbines. With the hands-on approach that CIT takes in its curriculum, it was important to provide future college students with the same level of interaction with faculty and staff in summer program activities. Day one was focused on students interested in pursuing education and careers in cybersecurity and information technology. After starting the morning off with some icebreakers and leadership activities, the students ventured off to a lab activity with Thiago Ferreira, assistant professor of information technology and informatics, where they would assemble and code an Arduino device capable of turning on and off LED lights and buzzers.

A student working on a Arduino device at a desk.

"It was a fantastic experience to show what we are doing here at CIT. The students saw that we are committed to giving every student access to practical experiences and hands-on learning opportunities," said Ferreira.

Another group would head to the computer lab with Halil Bisgin, associate professor of computer science, and explore the world behind the internet and connected systems from a cybersecurity perspective. The students had to think like a hacker would and try to understand where online threats could potentially occur, then figure out how to stop them.

In the afternoon, the entire group got on a bus to Molex Connected Vehicle Solutions in Grand Blanc, MI, to get an inside look at what goes into certain parts of vehicle design from some expert engineers on staff. The group also got a look at one of only a handful of anechoic chambers in the US that are large enough and capable of being used in the testing of vehicle components.

Students in front of a large anechoic chamber

Day two of the program focused on digital manufacturing technology and sustainability and energy technology. In one workshop the students got to experiment with sound and vibration with Linda Zhu, assistant professor of engineering, and then explored the world of 3D printing with Engineering Lab Tech Greg Keller.

"I [was] so happy to see that there are a lot of high school students interested in digital manufacturing, and I was very impressed by their critical thinking and problem-solving skills during the lab activities. I see future engineers in this field!" said Zhu.

Students building sound vibration materials.

The other group would head over to the classroom with James Alsup, associate professor of physics, to build wind turbines and measure their output through some friendly competition.

Professor Alsup building a wind turbine

"I was excited to see several girls in our camp this year. We hope this means there will be many more young women studying technology with CIT in the future," said Assistant Professor of Digital Manufacturing Technology Shirl Donaldson.

Day two of the camp ended with a field trip to Lear Corporation where all of the students got the opportunity to take a full tour of their Flint facility to take some photos and ask questions about their production processes. While it was a full two days of workshops, lab time, and field trips, everyone seemed to have a great time and enjoy the different parts of the camp this year.

Chris Pearson, dean of the College of Innovation & Technology, said, "Offering the Innovation & Technology Scholars Program was both exciting for CIT and an important step in its development.  A main goal of the program is to provide the participants the opportunity to envision themselves engaged with technology – allowing them to imagine the possibilities. Being able to showcase CIT in an engaging and fun environment creates future pathways. I am very grateful for the efforts of faculty, staff, and our industry partners who made this a tremendous event." 

CIT looks forward to the growth happening in the areas of technology and is already thinking about what next year's camp will look like. 

Dayne Hopkins is the communications specialist for the College of Innovation & Technology. Contact him at [email protected].