The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

The student news site of Patchogue-Medford High School

The Red & Black

UCONN’s Summer Engineering Program

Photo by Danica Sherman
One of many cows at UConn’s own Dairy Bar

This past summer I had the opportunity to spend two weeks at the University of Connecticut’s Explore Engineering Program. During the program, we gained real-life engineering experience and a taste of college life.

The structure of our days was relatively simple: We headed to our first lecture, then did a follow up activity, broke for lunch, and wrapped up the day by working on my favorite part, our Grand Challenges.

Each lecture was given by a university professor or industry professional on all disciplines of engineering from mechanical to environmental to biomedical. We learned about what kinds of jobs are attainable with that degree, different aspects of working in that field, and what kinds of classes to take for that major.

After each presentation, we did a follow-up activity called Major Exploration, which simulated a task we might have to do if we worked in that specific field. These activities were designed by the program’s undergraduate student counselors and ranged from rolled ice cream to edible bricks to robotic arms.

Towards the end of each day, we had time to work on our Grand Challenges. This activity endured for the entire program, and our goal was to design a product that would help combat a challenge faced in anatomy, the environment, or manufacturing of machines. The Grand Challenge was exactly that, challenging, and I may or may not still be holding a grudge against the soldering iron that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to use.

The showcasing of our Grand Challenge product, an ROV (remotely operated vehicle) (Photo by Danica Sherman)

“I loved the program! It helped me to explore different engineering fields and narrow down my major. The people there were really great,” said Ava Laudadio, program participant and my amazing roommate.

While gaining all this engineering intel, we also got a taste of the college experience. We lived in the dorm rooms with roommates, ate gourmet dining hall food, and learned the importance of shower shoes. While not identical to what the actual college experience will be, it was a good introduction to college routines and lifestyles.

I truly enjoyed my time at Explore Engineering. I’ve always known I wanted to major in engineering because it looked intriguing on paper, but this experience helped me solidify that I actually enjoy doing engineering hands-on and helped me decide what fields I do or don’t like.

I made countless friends from all over the country, and we still keep in touch, two months later. I explored more than just engineering, I explored new relationships and priceless memories.

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    Tyler GleasonOct 5, 2023 at 6:55 am

    Awesome article, Danica!