July 26, 2022


For one exciting week in July, the School of Engineering once again hosted a summer program for high school students called Engineering New Frontiers! At this year's camp, 38 high school students gathered for an intensive and fun week designed to introduce them to multiple engineering disciplines and enhance their internship- and job-finding skills. The Research and Innovative STEM Education (RAISE) program awarded ten students scholarships to attend the summer program, funding provided by the Office of Naval Research. Six School of Engineering faculty contributed content to the camp and seven CatholicU engineering students served as stellar resident advisors (RAs). 

Dr. Gunnar Lucko organized a tour of a construction site in Northeast DC (Union Market) managed by Moriarity Group, which employs many CatholicU civil engineering alumni. The students toured a 13-story multi-use building (apartments and retail), ascending by way of the external construction site elevator and descending through floors in various stages of completion, many with excellent views of Catholic University’s campus and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Dr. Jason Davison led a field trip to an active federal construction site at the Federal Reserve Building which is currently undergoing a massive renovation of their entire campus. The students visited the Governors Board Room as well as the rooftop.

Back in Pangborn Hall, Dr. Gregory Behrmann led the students through the use of drawing robots, able to translate vector graphics images to an ink-on-paper drawing through the use of stepper motors guided by microcontrollers. Dr. Matthew Jacobs led a coding bootcamp in which the campers learned to encrypt and decrypt text. Dr. Chuan-Fu Lin gave a lecture on engineering to meet the energy requirements of modern societies, and an introduction to batteries. After the lecture, he and his research students helped the campers power glowing LEDs using lime batteries, and he gave a tour of his battery research lab.

Dr. Christopher Raub organized a tissue engineering experiment for the campers, who learned basic pipetting and microscopy skills as they built living models of cancer-laden tissue and interpreted real data collected by Catholic University students in Dr. Raub's lab. Additional lectures presented by Dr. Raub highlighted the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center in Biomedical Engineering (headed by Dr. Peter Lum and Dr. Sang Wook Lee), “How to Find Your Dream Job”, college admissions, entrepreneurship, mock interviews (for internships and full jobs), and overviews of engineering majors, job prospects for each discipline, and a lecture on Tissue Engineering, Biofabrication, and Biomedical Optics.

Fun trips and events included a tour of the DC monuments with a real historian as guide, a movie night with ice cream, a tour of the Basilica, and a trip to the Kennedy Center to see the Blue Man Group. The Catholic University student RAs also engaged the students by teaching them CAD using SolidWorks, popsicle stick bridge-building, and generally showing the campers a glimpse of what it is like to be an engineering student in college.