August 27, 2013

Wayne State computer science camp educates Detroit-area youth, offers first-time all-girls program

DETROIT (Aug. 27, 2013) - Nearly 80 middle and high school students interested in computer and information science created websites, apps, toys and more at the Wayne State University Department of Computer Science Summer Camp in July. Taught by computer science faculty members and trained assistants, the three-week camp included a wide variety of programs that offered hands-on learning experiences for students ages 9 to18.

This marked the first year that Wayne State - in partnership with Quicken Loans, the Michigan Council of Women in Technology, the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation and Gaining Options-Girls Investigate Real Life (GO-GIRL) - offered an Android Mobile Application Development program targeted exclusively at girls. More than 20 girls, ranging in age from 13 to18, attended the program at no charge thanks to the sponsors.

"We were pleased to once again offer our summer camp program for Detroit-area youth," said Xuewen Chen, chair of Wayne State's Department of Computer Science. "The camp provides a great opportunity for us to meet and educate the next generation of computer science innovators and professionals. This year's addition of an all-girls camp provided us with an even greater avenue to partner with area organizations and companies, and really have an impact on STEM education and awareness for female students here in Michigan. It's a big area of focus."

Associate Provost for Academic Success Monica Brockmeyer, who has served as chair of Wayne State's Department of Computer Science, spoke at the closing ceremony on July 26. Her remarks highlighted the importance of mathematics, writing and technology to one's future success.

"There's a definite call to increase awareness and education efforts in STEM, especially for young women, as they are typically underrepresented in computer science and information technology. We actually had 80 applications for the 20 openings in the girls camp, so that definitely shows us that there is interest and need for these camps," Brockmeyer said.

When RaKya Collins enrolled in the camp, she didn't quite know what to expect from the app development program.
"My experience in the Android Application Camp was a great learning experience for me," said Collins. "In the beginning, I had no clue what the instructor was talking about, nor did I think I was going to like it. My group worked on an application called 'Anti-Bullied World.' As time went on, I began to understand more about this technology. I encourage kids my age to try this camp because it is a great experience. I absolutely loved this camp."

Summer camp participants were also exposed to art and culture in Midtown, thanks to trips to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Science Center and the Department of Astronomy's Planetarium.

In addition to the Android Application Development program for girls, the camp offered:

Creating Animation and Movies (Ages 11 to 16)
Students explored computer animation to create an original computer-generated movie. By using Alice, a 3D virtual reality software program, students learned about mechanical and software design, as well as project management and teamwork.

Explorations in Robotics (Ages 11 to 16)
In this program, students worked in pairs to solve challenges by building and programming robots using the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System. In the process, they learned about mechanical and software design, project management and teamwork.

Web Technology (Ages 12 to 15)
Students explored Internet page design and learned how to develop a personal website. They created and established an individual website, learned how to transfer web files to a server, and modified and edited Web pages.

Creating Android Phone Apps (Ages 14 to 18)
In this program, students explored cellphone programming to create original Android applications. By using Android AppInventor software, students built mechanical and software design, project management and teamwork skills.

Explorations in Computer Gaming (15 to 18)
Students wrote video games for platforms such as the Xbox 360. They explored the programming techniques behind games and developing simple 2D and 3D graphics and sound.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students. For more information about engineering at Wayne State University, visit


Kristin Copenhaver
Phone: 313-577-3853

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