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GVSU camp introduces girls to engineering careers

  • Past campers fly the airplanes they made during STEPS Camp at the Warped Wings Fly Field in Allendale.

Posted on June 12, 2014

Area middle school girls will get a glimpse into the careers of engineering, an occupation made up of 10 percent women, at a four-day camp at Grand Valley State University. The camp is held for female students to explore opportunities in manufacturing and technical careers.

The Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camp for Girls will be held June 16-19 and June 23-26 in the John C. Kennedy Hall of Engineering on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. Nearly 90 campers will get hands-on engineering experience by designing, manufacturing and flying radio-controlled electronic airplanes.

MEDIA NOTE: Campers will fly their airplanes, with the help of certified pilots, at the Warped Wings Fly Field located at the corner of Alger and 56th Avenue in Allendale on Thursday, June 19 and June 26, at 5:30 p.m.

The camp includes visits to the Amway private hangar at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport and West Michigan Aviation Academy, among others. Campers will attend classes with Grand Valley professors, take part in flight simulators and participate a challenge course at the David D. Hunting YMCA.

The program, created in 1997 by the University of Wisconsin-Stout, is part of an effort to attract more women and minorities into the field of engineering. It is held early enough to influence a student’s choice of math, science, and technical courses in middle and high school. These courses help prepare them to enter and succeed in college-level programs.

The camp is coordinated by Grand Valley’s Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing with support from Alcoa Foundation, Alcoa Howmet-Whitehall Operations, Pioneer Construction, Cascade Engineering, Michigan Space Grant Consortium, Society of Manufacturing Engineering Education Foundation, GE Aviation and Perrigo.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit or contact STEPS Director Sara Maas at (616) 331-6025 or

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