Randy Winzer loves the student interaction that comes with his job as a professor of engineering technology. A hands-on field, he's often nearby as students make discoveries about the technology they're creating.
But his role is just as enjoyable in the summer, when PSU's annual technology camps for kids bring roughly 100 youngsters to the Kansas Technology Center to learn about plastics, robotics, and construction.
This year, the College of Technology has added a new camp to the mix: "Transport Your Future," an automotive technology camp that will teach kids how to disassemble and reassemble an engine, how to paint and perform body work on a vehicle, and how to do basic maintenance and repairs on car engines. Along with some valuable lessons, participants will get to take home a collection of new tools courtesy of a PSU donor.
The idea for the camps began eight years ago when Winzer and Jim Otter, chairman of the Department of Construction Management and Construction Engineering Technologies, were brainstorming ways to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and mathematical concepts.
"It was an attempt to generate some enthusiasm among middle school-aged students," he said. "That's when we started the robotics camp, and it just grew."
This summer, "Transport Your Future" will run July 12-16. The "Construct Your Future," "Plastic is Fantastic," and "Adventures in Robotics" camps will be held the weeks of July 19-23 and July 26-30. For more information on the camps, go to http://www.pittstate.edu/college/technology/tech-camps/.
"For us, it's a two-pronged mission. We're trying to reach out to children and get them excited, but we're also trying to give them an idea of what our programs are like and give them a chance to see our facilities," Winzer said, adding that many of his engineering technology majors look forward to helping with the camp. "We're trying to inspire the next generation."