YOUNGSTOWN — Area youth have gained skills using the newest technology as part of an annual summer camp offered at the Excellence Training Center at Youngstown State University.
Cynthia Manofsky, business operations specialist at the center, said each week’s camp is limited to 10 children from the tri-county area.
“We have 10 design stations where they can design their cars. There are 10 3D printers they can also use,” she said.
One camp was held in June, the other this month and the third in August for children ages 9 to 14.
“We want this to be an outreach to get children involved with different STEM activities and programs that they may not have had the opportunity to be involved with at school. The 3D and robotics give them an eye-opening for careers they may one day want to be in,” she said.
The program works with the YSU STEM College and has speakers from the college who talk to students about different programs they can go into.
Manofsky said the center has a machining program that has the equipment they can see, and some to use.
Many students were impressed with the 3D printer. Many of the students have been involved with robotics in some way. They learn about the robotics arms, which is different than the robotics teams at their school. They enjoy being able to design their own car and seeing it being built by the 3D printer,” she said.
Students are at the center seven hours a day and learn to design and scan items into the 3D printer — such as a replica of their heads.
For the final day students invite their families, who can see what they have done during the week, and all get a tour of the center. The students were able to take home what they designed and built.
“With a lot of the businesses that are coming to this area we want to prepare the students for manufacturing and engineering careers. Women and men are in these fields. Many of these careers are coming back and students need to have an open mind and see what these careers offer. This age bracket is a good time to start having them think of where they want to go for a career path,” Manofsky said.
She said in recent years 3D printers have become more popular in area schools with the center doing outreach to the area schools.
“By the end of the week I hope all the participants had fun. There was one student in the June camp who was leaving with his father who turned to me and said, ‘See you next year.’ That was so exciting to hear that he wants to come back after having a great time of what he had learned,” Manofsky said.
Jackie Ruller, the training center’s director of Advanced Manufacturing Research and Commercial Projects, said students taking part in the camp experience what they may not otherwise be able to do anywhere else.
“The students we had were incredibly quick learners. They were very dedicated and excited about learning things that were new for them and experiencing different STEM careers.” she said.
Oscar Earnheard, fourth-grader for Liberty schools, said he enjoyed using the 3D printer and the robots. He said his school does have a robotics club for students to work on robots.
“My dad signed me up for the program. At first I thought it was going to be like school. It turned out to be really fun. I learned how to program robots and see how 3D printing works,” he said.
Lily Vondran, freshman at Boardman High School, said, “I gained a lot of experience doing things I have never done before. What I learned can help me with any chosen career field. I am looking at mechanical engineering and we did learn some of that. I also learned about civil engineering and have never thought of that before.”
“Boardman does have 3D printers but the level of details in my project was more than I have ever done at our school. I made a working car which was the first time I have ever had the opportunity to do this. Programming of the robots was different than anything I have ever experienced before,” she said.
Levi Hartz, seventh-
grader of Mathews schools, said learning programming for robots and 3D printers was a skill he will be able to continue using. “This is one of the funnest camps I have done before. It was fun to make projects. he said.