Sharhad Bashar was never upset when his toys came apart – in fact he was often the culprit.
Fifteen-year-old Bashar loved engineering at a young age and his toys represented new puzzles to tear apart and put back together. He is among the many high school students participating in the Western Engineering Summer Academy in the Faculty of Engineering.
Cameron Soltys, 15, and Matthew McLeod, 15, test the construction of their Styrofoam wings in a wind tunnel as part of the Western Engineering Summer Academy’s Mechanical Engineering course.
“I saw my dad do these things since I was little,” says Bashar, noting his father is a mechanical engineer. “I have a lot of broken toys that I’ve tried to fix.”
From designing and building a glider and understanding the principles behind digital music and sound, to measuring water flow in rivers and making polymeric materials, high school students can learn about ‘what’s the big idea.’
In its second year, the academy offers week-long sessions beginning July 19, July 26, Aug. 3 and Aug. 9. The six courses are focused on mechanical engineering; audio engineering and hearing science; materials & biomaterials engineering; software engineering; civil & water resources engineering; and biomedical engineering.
Complete course descriptions are available at https://www.eng.uwo.ca/academy/Course%20Descriptions(2).htm.
Held daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., students in Grades 9-12 can experience different sectors of engineering, all taught by University of Western Ontario professors and graduate students.
The sessions combine lectures and labs, as well as site tours. Academy co-ordinator Jennifer Hinton says the program helps students determine whether they are interested in the field and would like to pursue a career in engineering.
“I hope it opens their eyes because I went to school for engineering and I didn’t really understand what it is. There are so many opportunities that you probably just don’t know about,” says Hinton. “I want them to know there could be a future here … and what it is like to be an engineering student.”
Registration is still open for sessions held Aug. 3-6 and Aug. 9-13. To register, visit https://www.eng.uwo.ca/academy/Registration%20Form.htm.
“I’ve always been interested in engineering and sciences. I thought it would be a cool opportunity to meet with other people with similar interests,” says 15-year-old Erin Gabriel of Sarnia.
Gabriel participated in the Materials and Biomaterials Engineering course during the first week.
It was her first time in the academy and she signed up because she “thought it would be cool to be in a lab.”
Tom Kurowski can remember when he got his start in engineering. Now the graduate student is an academy instructor and is able to pass along his knowledge to the young, bright minds.
“It’s fun interacting with soon-to-be engineers,” says Kurowski. “In school you don’t get practical experience. It’s good to see if you want to be an engineer, here is what you can do.”
The academy is also offering bussing to students for an additional $50 per week for those living in Chatham, West Lorne, Sarnia, Listowel, Stratford, St. Marys, Woodstock and Ingersoll. Check the website for more information.
The Western Engineering Summer Academy is funded by the Imperial Oil Foundation.