Community Partnerships

Program for teens piques interest in technology

A unique rocket launch recently culminated the Purdue Calumet School of Technology’s summer workshop. This year’s session for 65 area middle- and high school students found participants developing skills, as well as gaining insights into prospective careers.

Workshop objective

The mission of the workshop was to introduce concepts of engineering technology through weekly activities that emphasize the foundational context of various programs offered at Purdue Calumet, according to Susan Scachitti, head of the Purdue Calumet Department of Engineering Technology.

“Each student experienced learning activities in the areas of electrical, mechanical, mechatronics and industrial engineering technology,” she said. “After completing this program, students are better able to visualize if an engineering technology degree is the appropriate academic avenue with which to start for their career goals.”

Professor, Ed Perosky with a high school student
Professor Ed Perosky with a high school student from the Summer ET Workshop, using a device to measure the height of a rocket.

College of Technology faculty and staff members Greg Neff, Craig Engle, Julius Najzer, Akram Hossain, Masoud Fathizadeh, Rick Rickerson, David McLees, Ed Petrosky, William C. Robinson and Lash Mapa  also instructed.

Hands-on activities part of program

Applying information gained during the workshop, the students programmed a Bobot while learning about computers and robotics, developed PLC logic to program a garage door simulation, and designed a metal component in CAD and then produced it on a CNC lathe in the manufacturing lab.

(from left) David Sawtell, Brandon Lindemak, Matthew Morales, and Andres Ramirez
After studying the ins and outs of building a rocket, and what it takes to get it off the ground, students (from left) David Sawtell of Highland, , Brandon Lindemak of Crown Point , Matthew Morales of Crown Point, and Andres Ramirez of Schererville, conduct a once-over before heading to the launch pad at Purdue University Calumet.

The students also designed rockets and competed in a rocket launch on a grassy area of campus. They were excited to see how high their rockets soared before parachuting down. Using specific tools of measurement added to the students’ experience.

“I’ve been going back and forth about my career choice, but I’m somewhat into mechanical engineering” Munster High School student David Sawtell, 17, said while awaiting his turn at the launch pad. “But I’m glad I came to this (workshop). I’ve learned one very important thing; not only do you have to do things physically in this career, you have to do a lot mentally, as well.”


Taking home more than experience

Instructor Rick Rickerson
Instructor Rick Rickerson goes over the basics of launching a rocket during the last class of an engineering summer workshop at Purdue Calumet.

Workshop participants who choose to enroll at Purdue Calumet will receive one departmental credit toward an engineering technology baccalaureate degree.