Tech-Proficient Teens Take College for a Spin
Academic Bridge Camp Offers High School Students a Personal Introduction
Aug. 27, 2009
About 40 Dallas high school seniors recently took their prospective college engineering and computer science degrees for a test-drive in a summer camp co-hosted by the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) and the Academic Bridge Program (ABP).
“The ECS ABP Camp is designed to give students an opportunity to further explore their interest in engineering or computer science by participating in various hands-on activities and meeting with professionals from the respective fields,” said ABP director Soli Ghirmai.
“In addition, our goal is also to give the students information that will help them make a smooth transition from high school to college,” he said. “Having stayed on campus for five days, they saw a glimpse of the college life at UT Dallas.”
The five-day camp was chock-full of activities ranging from presentations by UT Dallas President David Daniel and Nanotech Institute Director Ray Baughman to tours of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory (NSERL), the ECSS Computer Lab and the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute.
The students got a taste of college living by staying in the University Village and eating some of their dinners at The Pub. A networking party gave the students an opportunity to socialize with current ABP students. They even went on a field trip to the Cisco Systems Customer Briefing Center in Richardson.
Oscar Morales, a senior at Skyline High School in Dallas, is interested in learning about the engineering programs at UT Dallas. “I want to major in math but I heard you can’t get a lot of jobs with just a math degree,” he said. “I’ll probably get a double major in math and mechanical engineering, just in case.”
Maax Berlin, a senior at the School of Science and Engineering at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center, is already pretty sure that he wants to attend UT Dallas. “I’m trying to get a better feel for what I want to get my major in,” he said. “I’m looking into engineering, but I want to stick with environmental sciences as well.”
One thing that made an impression on Berlin was the taste he got of his future accommodations, should he decide to attend UT Dallas. “I like it here,” said Berlin. “It’s a pretty nice campus. The apartments are pretty nice. We all get our own bedrooms, so that’ll be pretty nice.”
Each of the students received a TI-84 calculator as a camp souvenir and a tutorial on its use from a UT Dallas graduate who currently works at Texas Instruments.
ABP was founded in 2000 by Dr. George W. Fair, Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. The program seeks to attract, support, and retain students who graduate from Dallas-area urban high schools with high class rankings without having completed the full university-track curriculum. This summer scholarship program is offered to selected entering freshmen and gives students the opportunity to begin their university education immediately following their high school graduation.
The high school students toured NSERL, the ECSS Computer Lab and the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute as part of the camp.
“I’m trying to get a better feel for what I want to get my major in. I’m looking into engineering, but I want to stick with environmental sciences as well.” — Maax Berlin, high school senior
“I want to major in math but I heard you can’t get a lot of jobs with just a math degree. I’ll probably get a double major in math and mechanical engineering, just in case.” - Oscar Morales, high school senior