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Youths get hands-on look at aviation, engineering careers

June 15, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Some 75 middle and high school students from around the country are immersing themselves in all areas of aviation and engineering during two career exploration academies this summer at Western Michigan University.

The students are participating in the Summer Flight Academy, which will run from Monday, June 19, through Friday, June 23, and the Summer Engineering Academy, which will run from Monday, June 19, through Thursday, June 22.

Both programs are free residential camps that bring middle and high school students to WMU to learn about career opportunities available in aviation and engineering. The students had to apply to participate in the programs and will be staying on campus in a University residence hall. Free breakfasts and lunches are being provided to participants who are eligible for the federal Summer Food Service Program.

The camps are being co-sponsored by the University's King/Chavez/Parks College Day Program, a state-funded program sponsored by Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth to increase graduation rates for underrepresented students in post-secondary education.

A major focus of both camps is to increase awareness of aviation and engineering careers among women, minorities and other groups that are not currently well represented in these two industries.

During the camps, participants will get to know the WMU campus as well as take college preparation classes, engage in hands-on projects, tour companies and hear about their career options from a variety of speakers.

The 50 Summer Flight Academy participants, who will have a chance to fly actual aircraft, will spend much of their time at WMU's state-of-the-art aviation education facilities at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek.

Half of this year's camp participants also are taking part in the Flying for Learning and Inspiration initiative offered by the KCP College Day Program. This initiative, a separate, academic-year program, is designed to educate West Michigan students about aviation careers.

The two dozen Summer Engineering Academy participants will spend much of their time on WMU's Parkview campus near U.S. 131 and Parkview Avenue. This campus houses the University's cutting-edge engineering facilities as well as its thriving Business Technology and Research Park.

WMU's College of Aviation began serving as the host for free aviation camps more than a decade ago to encourage teens from a variety of backgrounds to consider aviation careers. This is the first year the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is offering young people an engineering academy.

For more information, contact Erika Carr, KCP director, at erika.carr@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3319.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
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