Teen girls get a taste of the engineering profession at UWM’s EnQuest camps

Each summer, girls ages 13-17 from the Milwaukee area come to the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for weeklong summer camps, called EnQuest, and explore the diverse opportunities within the engineering profession.

This summer, 23 girls attended the EnQuest camps. All campers worked with women engineers, visited engineering labs, experienced life on a college campus, formed supportive friendships and carried out a real-world project.

UWM faculty and staff members who worked with the students included: Chris Beimborn, UWM STEM outreach specialist and EnQuest coordinator; Priya Premnath, assistant professor, biomedical engineering; Brooke Slavens, associate professor, mechanical and biomedical engineering; Alyssa Schnorenburg, associate director of the Mobility Lab and scientist in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

“Engineering becomes a meaningful pursuit when the campers work on a project that has a direct, positive impact in people’s lives,” says Beimborn.

What campers are saying about EnQuest

This year, the day campers customized a solar power station for an off-grid community in Guatemala that UWM’s Engineers Without Borders student chapter will deliver. The project built off past EnQuest projects for other Guatemalan locations.

“I really enjoyed it because everything we did had a purpose,” one day camper said. “We were all working towards the common goal of making a solar power suitcase that would impact a community in Guatemala.

“I learned a lot of different skills and found it very fun to sit in the Makerspace and wire up the solar panel and experiment with things and work with the people around me.”

The overnight campers explored biomedical engineering, making and analyzing a biomaterial, and using motion capture to evaluate ways of propelling wheelchairs.

Through specific activities—including making casts in the campus’s foundry and coding with UWM Girls Who Code—both groups explored multiple disciplines within engineering and computer science,

One overnight camper listed her three favorite things about EnQuest: learning about biomedical engineering, meeting female engineers, and doing lab work.

“I enjoyed my time at camp and I feel like I have a good idea of what I want to do and what I’ll be good at doing,” she stated.

Thank you to our community for supporting the campers!

EnQuest is offered through UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science with generous support from the Diane K. Schlitz ’59 and Harold L. Schlitz ’59 Memorial Fund, American Family Insurance, Creation Technologies, Generac, Eaton, the Fund for Diversity in Tech Education at UWM (created by UWM alumni Satya Nadella, ’90 MS Computer Science and his wife Anu Nadella) and multiple anonymous donors.

Learn more about the two EnQuest camps.