OSU summer institute challenges local students
At a summer camp that started this week, building an autonomous robot and working with images from a Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft were on the docket.
The Ohio Supercomputer Center's Summer Institute began June 17, bringing high school students from throughout the state to Ohio State University.
From 69 applicants, 16 campers were selected for the second annual summer camp that runs from June 17-29 and provides learning in science, technology, engineering and math.
"Almost every day there are tours and they're interactive tours," said Susan Mantey, outreach manager for the Ohio Technology Consortium.
"They visit the material engineering lab and go to the Center for Automotive Research," Mantey said.
"They have a presentation from an Arctic researcher. These are things they do that apply to real-world problems. This is a combination of working on these problems so they can learn skills, but also introduce them to professionals in the field."
May Chen, who will attend Dublin Jerome High School in the fall as a sophomore, said the Summer Institute fell in line with her interests.
"I was looking at various camps and the Summer Institute was the most engaging. And it's at the supercomputer center. I'm looking into that major."
The science and math aspects of the Summer Institute appealed to Victor Liu, a Dublin resident who is a senior at Columbus Academy.
"I guess I've always been interested in math and science," Liu said.
"When I heard about the Summer Institute I thought it would be cool because you learn concepts in the classroom, but never get to see real-life, practical application," he said.
"The one thing they said in the flier is you get hands-on work with things you learn in school."
Being around a supercomputer also is a bonus, Liu said.
"Very few people have an opportunity to be exposed to supercomputers," he said.
The application process to get into the Summer Institute and work with Ohio Supercomputer Center employees was tough.
"It was a competitive process," Mantey said, noting that a committee went through applications and chose the top students.
"Personally, I thought I wouldn't get in because of the amount of things I had to do (that) were hard," Chen said.
"We had to do a personal essay and get two teacher recommendations. There were other forms about our interests."
Liu thought the application process was straight-forward, but it was a bit hectic for him.
"I had applied to a bunch of other science programs and got rejected," he said. "I heard about this the day before it was due."
During the camp, students stay at OSU and chose one of four projects to work on: building an autonomous robot capable of avoiding obstacles, investigating real-world cyber attacks, processing images from a spacecraft and examining how cells signal to each other and form multi-cellular structures.
In addition to projects and tours, students will also learn programming languages, team building, how to do presentations and other STEM lessons.
"From 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. they're involved in a pretty structured day," Mantey said. "There are nonacademic evening activities."
Students chosen for the Summer Institute are: Dublin residents Chen, Aidan Globus, Daniel Hong, Liu, Kanaad Parvate, Pravav Shankar and Arjun Venkataraman; Brennan Barrington of Reynoldsburg; Tess Greene of Xenia; Isaac Luther, Marysville; Divya Madhavan, Broadview Heights; Jared McCollum, Hilliard; Ryan Rowe, Westlake; Kevin Wu, New Albany; Kristina Zhang, Powell; and Nick Zhao, Mason.