LU Moment: LU Engineering STEM camp is back on campus | S3 Ep. 20


Shelbe Rodriguez: (0:01)

Hey there Cardinals, I’m Shelbe Rodriguez, social media and digital marketing manager here at Lamar University popping in to do the LU Moment this week, where we showcase all the great events, activities, programs and people at Lamar University.

Big Congratulations to our spring 2021 graduates! We held three commencement ceremonies last week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and our grads, their families, friends and the LU community showed up in a big way wearing their Cardinal red. There were fireworks at the end of each ceremony –– I mean, such an amazing way to send off our seniors.

While we hate to see our grads go, we love to watch them leave. To see all the photos and beautiful moments captured during last week’s commencement ceremonies, check out our Facebook page, just search Lamar University and you’ll see that photo album pinned right at the top of the page.

Grads –– we want you to know, this isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later! No matter where life takes you, you can always come back to the nest at any time. There will be plenty of sporting events to come, so you can bring the entire family out, show them your old stomping grounds.

As you go out into the world and explore career opportunities, know that the Career and Professional Development Center is always a resource for you.


To learn more about how you can stay connected to LU and really embrace the Cardinal Network, visit lamar.edu forward slash alumni.

And, you know, on Friday’s we still wear our Cardinal red. Be sure to get your red on in support of your alma mater, snap a photo and tag us on social media at Lamar University so that we can share!

Alright, so now that we’ve given our seniors a proper send-off, I can’t tell you how excited we are to usher in a new class of Cardinals, the class of 2025. If you are #LUBound, be sure to visit lamar.edu/admissions to view our accepted students checklist. We want to get you on the road to fully become cardinals for this upcoming fall. Make sure you have your financial aid in order, scholarships and student orientation is on June 25th, so be sure you get registered for that.

If you’re a parent of a future Cardinal, we have something for you too. The LU Parent Association is here to help you stay connected to your Cardinal whether you are near of far. You can sign up for our Parent Newsletter, it’s free and actually open to parents, family members and anyone who wants to support our students. For an official membership to our parent association, you can email parents@lamar.edu. There are no fees to pay or additional forms, we just want to keep you connected to LU and keep you connected to your Cardinal student’s success.

Speaking of future Cardinals, we love our little Cardinals so have plenty of summer camps coming up. Everything you can think of –– baseball, choir, dance, football, soccer, volleyball and we even have a STEM camps for our littles interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Here to talk to us a little more about this amazing STEM camp is Haley Strahan, director of outreach and student services in the College of Engineering here at LU. So glad to have you here with us Haley, how are you this morning?


Haley Strahan: (3:01)
I’m great, thank you so much for having me.


Shelbe Rodriguez: (3:04)
Good! So, tell us a little bit more about what you do here at Lamar University.


Haley Strahan: (3:07)
Well, as you mentioned before, I’m the director of outreach and student services for the college of engineering, so what that means is most of the programs that are run through the college of engineering, I kind of have a hand in making sure all those things happen and that includes the programs for future Cardinals such as the STEM camps or programs that are with our current students, for instance, the Co-op programs. I handle all that.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (3:34)
Good job! How long have you been with the college of engineering?


Haley Strahan: (3:39)
So, it’s about two years in last February, so a little over two years,

Shelbe Rodriguez: (3:44)
Yeah that’s awesome. So, give us a little bit more insight on what exactly is a STEM camp?


Haley Strahan: (3:49)
As you mentioned, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and I’m sure you and your listeners have heard that the term STEM is thrown around a lot and is a big focus in K-12 education. It’s a big focus really in our country as a whole because we’ve kind of push to really increase the education level of our students in regard to the STEM disciplines. A lot of jobs that are coming up on the horizon are going to be very focused in information technology, computers and engineering and things like that. So, we want to make sure that we are educating our students well and also that we are meeting the needs of the community to help students before they get to the college level, we have many resources here that we can sort of be partners with the community giving back and helping make sure that we’re educating the next group of engineering students at Lamar. The STEM camps are educational, but also fun, of course. We actually have two STEM camps with the hopes that we’re going to keep expanding and growing and having more offerings in the summer. As of now, we have two, one of them is Lamar introduction to engineering affectionately known as LITE camp and that is for incoming 7th and 8th graders and the idea behind that camp is to kind of introduce those students to all of the disciplines of engineering that we offer here so that’s going to be your chemical engineering, your civil engineering, your electrical, mechanical, industrial, a little taste of everything. So, they come in as a week-long camp. It’s 9am-4pm everyday and they get to usually have one overarching experiment that they work in all week, that they kind of get to build on, but they also get to have student organizations and faculty members from each of the different disciplines come and they’ll do hands-on activities throughout the week, so they’ll get to come and have a little taste of what that type of engineering might be like. So, that is our LITE camp and then we also have our project engineer camp which is for high schoolers so it’s incoming 9th through incoming 12th. That is a robotics space camp, so they come here. We just ordered a bunch of the new generation robots and so we’re excited about that. They basically get to build and program and there’s a competition at the end with these robots.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (6:16)
I love that. I really love that faculty are involved so the littles get a hands-on experience with professionals who have done this sort of thing before.


Haley Strahan: (6:25)
Yes and with that high school camp, while it is more of a robotics space camp, we also do a tour every day of the different discipline lab with the faculty members. So, the high school students will also get that opportunity to meet with different faculty members of the different types of engineering to see if maybe robotics is not their thing, they can kind of see some of the other options as well.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (6:46)
So last year, the pandemic really kind of slowed things down for everyone. There were no in-person meetings, no gatherings, events kind of came to a complete halt, camps included, so how did the college of engineering kind of bear through that?


Haley Strahan: (7:00)
Well, we really had to regroup and try to decide, what, if anything could we do? Dean Craig was really passionate that we offer something just really because we knew that the need was there. These kids had been out of school for a few months already by the time summer came and my kids are the same way. So, we knew that there was really a need for things like that. Parents were really wanting to have their kids something to educational and fun to do so we decided we were going to figure it out. We did it all virtually. We did have both of our camps. For the LITE camp, we sent home experiment boxes that had everything they needed through the week, and we had our student orgs and actually Exxon Mobil, one of our donors also participated doing a hands-on activity. Throughout that week, they basically were guided through hands-on activities via virtual platforms and then they could do it at home. It was really fun. The parents took a lot of pictures and sent me pictures of them doing the activities and so that was really fun to see. I think they really enjoyed it. We really got good feedback. Then for our project engineer, we had our cardinal robotics team, which is one of our newer teams, one of our newer clubs in the college of engineering and they volunteered their time and basically that week, they worked with students again virtually. We gave each student a robot kit to take home with them and they programmed and built and hung out had a lot of fun doing it. It was really fun from my point of view to really watch it happen. Again, we got really good feedback and I’m glad we did it.


Shelbe Rodriguez: (8:39)
Yeah, a lot of creativity. What do you think the youth of the community really get out the STEM camps, you know?

Haley Strahan: (8:51)
You know, again, I think it is just a big focus, just something that we really want to expose kids to at an earlier age and while I do think that they are doing that in the schools (a lot of schools have robotics teams and they’re really trying to grow that stem), but we just have resources here that we can offer. We have the labs, we have the robots, we have again, faculty members, we have our great college of engineering students. We’re always willing to give back and so, you know, we want to give to the community in that way and in the end, it helps us because we are helping these younger students be better trained and get the exposure to engineering, so that by the time they’re here, they have a better idea of what they want to do, and they are ready to jump in and have that exposure to Lamar already.


Shelbe Rodriguez: (9:43)
So, going from virtual STEM camps back to hands-on, how excited are you guys?


Haley Strahan: (9:48)
We are super excited! We miss having our kids last summer and were so excited everyone’s going to be back on campus. We’ve waited and waited and waited for that go ahead. I didn’t want to call it until and we’ve finally got the go ahead, but we’re all really excited that they are going to be back on campus. So, I will tell ya’ll, LITE camp is going to be July 12th through the 16th. Project engineer is going to be July 19th through 23rd. Both of those are up on our website if you go to lamar.edu/engineeringk-12programs. You will be able to find them there and there is an application and some forms you can download. We do require a teacher recommendation and a recent report card just because we usually do have a pretty overwhelming interest in our camps and we kind of keep them fairly small so we can still get that one-on-one interaction. We do have that and that’s all up and we’re super excited about it. Our project engineer camp is a little young, so we only had it the year before. We had done it one year, then the pandemic, so this is the second in-person year to do it as project engineer. We’re kind of tinkering with that a little bit, but like I said, we just bought new robots, we bought a new field for the vacs robots competitions, so we’re excited.


Shelbe Rodriguez: (11:17)
Aww, I’m excited for you guys. I know the STEM camp is super popular in the community and I’m sure some future Cardinals were devastated last year when it had to go virtual, you know. It kind of threw things off a little bit, I know some people were looking forward to it, but we’re so glad to have you guys back and in-person this year.


Haley Strahan: (11:34)
Yeah, we love to have our repeat, you know, we always have those campers that come back every year and I love to see that. I start getting those emails early and like, “when’s the next camp, we’re ready to come?” That tells me everybody’s having a good time and enjoying it.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (11:47)
Yeah, you guys are doing the right thing. I bet Dean Craig is super excited, huh?

Haley Strahan: (11:51)
Yeah, he’s excited. We’re all excited to have a little life back on campus, right?


Shelbe Rodriguez: (11:51)
I know, I know. Where can the community find the college of engineering on social media?


Haley Strahan: (12:02)
So, were on Facebook at Lamar University college of engineering. We’re on Instagram @lamaruengineering, on LinkedIn at Lamar University college of engineering and we’re on twitter at Lamar University college of engineering or @luco, as we like to call it.


Shelbe Rodriguez: (12:17)
Luco! I love it! Haley, I mentioned earlier on the radio show, commencement. We wrapped up commencement last week. How was the ceremony, how’d you enjoy it?

Haley Strahan: (12:30)
It was great. I have to admit, I get a little bit teary.


Shelbe Rodriguez: (12:34)
Oh, I know it. I know.

Haley Strahan: (12:35)
I get attached to a lot of our students and if you saw me, I probably had a big grin on my face, because I do. I do get attached. I know everybody thinks that, but we have the best students. We just have the best students and I love watching graduations. It’s one of the best parts about working in this kind of job, you get to have that sense of pride in what they’ve accomplished and a little bit of an ending and a beginning and I just really love working at Lamar. I love that tradition and that year and the way it progresses, and you have semesters. I love that.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (13:23)
Alright, Haley, we’ve got about a minute left or so. Tell us, what can we look forward to from the college of engineering for the upcoming semester? Well, we have lots of things on the horizon, I think we’re kind of looking at it like, okay, we’ve had sort of a little bit of a pause year to sort of reevaluate what are we doing, why are we doing it? How can we do things different? We’ve kind of got some different ideas that were working on. I’m a little hesitant to unveil everything because we’re kind of waiting to see on funding and that kind of thing has got to get locked down, but other than that, we’re going to be back in the community. We have some great students as I mentioned who will attend anytime we have something in the Beaumont community. The museums camps or anything like that, we love to have our students attend that kind of thing, so I think you’ll see us back in action at a lot of those events and I think we’ll be having discover engineering which is our community event for K-12 where we invite everybody on campus to participate in different engineering hands-on activities which we weren’t able to have the last couple years, so I think we’ll be back to that in April. And then, again, we have a couple things on the horizon that I’m hoping we’re going to get off the ground.

Shelbe Rodriguez: (14:35)
Well, I’m looking forward to it, Haley. Well Cardinals, that is a wrap here with Haley Strahan. Haley, thank you again for joining us today. Guys, be sure to follow Lamar University on all social platforms. Just search Lamar University #weareLU. And also, be sure to tune into the next episode of the LU Moment. I’m signing off for now. Again, this is Shelbe Rodriguez, the social media and digital marketing manager here at Lamar University, the pride of Southeast Texas.