At BYU, it’s never too early to start learning about electrical and computer engineering – even if you’re in middle school! The ECEn department held its annual Chip Camp this summer, with kids from all over the country coming together to create LED frisbees, self-driving cars, and more.
Camille Wirthlin, one of the camp counselors and an IMMERSE-X student, attended the very first Chip Camp when she was young. “We did various activities very similar to the ones they have the kids do now,” she said. “I remember we made the LED Frisbees and we also worked on making paper rockets.” Camille also got a fun tour of the clean room – bunny suit and all – and got to decorate cookies.
Today, kids who attend Chip Camp have more resources and modules to work on to enhance their love of engineering. When asked to compare her experience at Chip Camp with the students’ today, Camille said, “I think it’s cool to see that Chip Camp is longer and that there are more activities that the kids are able to do. The new engineering building has nice new facilities and computer labs that projects can be done in. I also love that it is student-run, both when I went as a kid and now. I think it is a great way for students to be involved and become role models for the kids to look up to.”
One of the other camp counselors, Samuel Lahti, led a brand-new module this year on machine learning. Students were able to learn about how computers use AI and algorithms to recognize shapes in videos, create “choose your own adventure” stories, and more!
As Camille says, students are the backbone of Chip Camp. “My favorite thing that I was able to do this year was just work with the kids and help them. I loved seeing them get excited about learning new things and helping them break down complicated ideas to simple small steps.”
For those who wonder if they can afford to attend Chip Camp, BYU has provided scholarships to make participating possible. “It is affordable for the parents and also entertaining for the kids. It is a really positive experience for the university students as well to be able to outreach and help the next generation.”
Chip Camp attendee, Jonathan Mumford, even applied for and received a scholarship without parental assistance! Jonathan had a great time. “Chip Camp sounded super cool to me. I wanted to see where my dad went to school and some of the things he learned when he was an electrical engineering student at BYU. I really liked Chip Camp. My favorite part was programming the frisbee. If I could have the opportunity to attend again next year, I would want to attend.”
We’re excited to welcome Jonathan back next year to see how Chip Camp will evolve!