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SMART Money’s on Problem-Solvers at Innovative Summer Camp

A participant checks progress on a 3-D printed elephant toy.
A participant checks progress on a 3-D printed elephant toy.
A member of the business Sirens of Sound explains to mentors a smartphone speaker developed by her company during the Wildcat Den Showcase.
A member of the business Sirens of Sound explains to mentors a smartphone speaker developed by her company during the Wildcat Den Showcase.
Cellphone kickstands and charms were among team Copy, Paste, Print’s products.
Cellphone kickstands and charms were among team Copy, Paste, Print’s products.
A participant shows her team’s solution to a broken camera tripod.
A participant shows her team’s solution to a broken camera tripod.
A team shows off samples of 3-D printed toys, part of its week’s work.
A team shows off samples of 3-D printed toys, part of its week’s work.

Penn College’s annual SMART Girls summer camp attracted 34 high schoolers from across Pennsylvania, some with a strong interest in science, math, engineering or technology, and others just beginning to explore those options. During the four-day camp, the girls used additive manufacturing to solve problems – like creating replacement parts for broken consumer products and designing connectors to build structures out of plastic straws. They also used their newly honed computer-aided design and 3-D printing skills to develop a product line, supported by a business plan, resume and trade-show booth. All were used to pitch “investors,” the camp’s mentors, during the “Wildcat Den Showcase,” a SMART Girls take on television’s “Shark Tank.” SMART Girls – Science and Math Applications in Real-World Technologies for Girls – was implemented by Penn College to reverse the trend of girls to shy away from math and science courses and the rewarding, family-sustaining careers that use those skills. The camp, which also included career interest assessments and company tours, was facilitated by the college’s Outreach for K-12 Office. Mentors were Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing at Penn College; Tom Gill, a science teacher at Central Columbia High School; Christina L. Herman, director of student services and career development for Loyalsock Township School District; and Alice S. Justice, school counselor at Central Columbia Middle School. Camp director was Tanya Berfield, project and data reporting technician in Outreach for K-12.

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