American Society of Materials – Materials Camp Leading Future Engineers

High school students from southeastern Wisconsin gathered at UW-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering & Applied Science for the annual ASM (American Society of Materials) Materials Camp.

The Materials Camp is selective, intense and highly rewarding for anyone who wonders how a material’s atomic structure relates to its macroscopic properties. The hands-on workshop combines chemistry, physics, engineering and biology. Activities range from scanning electrons, interpreting solar cells and nanomaterials and making liquid nitrogen ice cream. The camp offers an exceptional chance to explore careers within engineering and materials science.

Students received the opportunity to get an up-close view of solar cells.

Students received the chance to get an up-close view of solar cells.

Mike Misorski, 17, from Fond du Lac just finished his junior year of high school and is set on following in his dad’s footsteps and becoming an engineer.

“I’m a little unsure of what field to go into,” said Misorski. “I enjoy materials, but I’m weighing my options and testing the waters.”

Misorski said that numerous experiments at the ASM Camp have interested him, with a certain one standing out. Students were given a bullet-proof sheet of glass, along with a hammer and were told to try and smash it. The glass held, but when a chemical was applied to the surface, it shattered on the first try.

“Cool things like that are one of the reasons why I want to become an engineer,” said Misorski. “This camp is doing a terrific job of broadening my entire perspective.”

Students also took a look into what the real world has to offer when it comes to engineering. Put on by the local ASM chapter, members like to get involved in educational aspects within the community. Camp-goers also toured Kohler to see real-life examples of engineering.

Camp Director Dr. Ben Schultz says that this is one of the most important things the camp has to offer. It gives students a behind-the-scenes look at local job opportunities.

“It’s great for the students to see some local industry firsthand,” said Schultz. “It serves as a really encompassing program introduction to materials science.”

Some UWM Engineering students were also on hand to help out with the camp. Karl Copes is a junior standing student whose major is Mechanical Engineering. Just two years ago, Copes attended the camp following his senior year of high school. He is now conducting research under Dr. Benjamin Church.

One of the biggest takeaways Copes had from the camp was the understanding of taking advantage of every educational opportunity.

“Getting involved with companies is huge in this field,” Copes said. “It really helps to put you in the right direction, along with getting your name out there and gaining that extra knowledge.”

When asked about what bit of advice he tells the students attending this week’s camp, he smiled.

“Keep learning,” Copes said. “You can always learn more and it’s vital for you to always do so. There’s always a learning opportunity and you always have to be ready.”

Another student who attended the camp was Kari Bema, 17, from Cudahy. Bema just finished her junior year of high school.


Bema looks on at the experiment of scanning electron microscopy takes place.

Engineering has always been around Bema growing up, as her dad is a software engineer.

“Seeing him work got me interested in becoming an engineer myself,” said Bema. “I also like the idea of continuing the path he set for me.”

Bema has been heavily involved with engineering through recent years. She has been a part of a robotics team going back six years. For the last two, she has served as the team’s captain.

During her sophomore year of high school, Bema had the privilege of interning under Research Associate Ben Schultz. She worked with zinc aluminum metal matrix. She then combined alloys with spheres and developed ways of finding the best combination of mechanical properties.

“That really set my eyes on the idea of going into materials,” Bema said. “I can’t wait to see where the road takes me from here.”

For more information about next year’s ASM Materials Camp, contact Dr. Ben Schultz (