Terri-Jane Yuzda

Camp Gives Students a
Hands-On Engineering Experience

Hands-on experience, real-world challenges and a gruelling schedule of lectures have fired the imaginations of two Edmonton Grade 12 students, convincing them that careers in engineering are worth a serious look. Jason Boddez of Sturgeon Composite High School and Katherine Jonsson of Spruce Grove Composite High School, both 17, were two of 30 students from across North America who attended a Seattle summer camp dedicated to materials science.

The American Society of Materials Edmonton Chapter sent the students to the ASM International Foundation camp at the University of Washington, held July 7 to 13, after the teens made the continent-wide cut. Each of 16 Edmonton high schools recommended its top candidate, and the Edmonton chapter narrowed the local field to Jason and Katherine. Both ended up being selected.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going into some area of engineering," said Jason. "If you're wondering at all about engineering, the camp is a great experience."

Katherine said she'd already been considering engineering, but the future presented a lot of competing options. Now engineering tops her list. "This camp was so amazing that I said, yes, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

That's exactly the kind of response John Wolodko, P.Eng., and the ASM Edmonton Chapter hope the ASM Materials Camp generates.

"The materials camp is a great opportunity for students to see what engineering is all about, from the perspective of materials engineering and materials science, but also from the perspective of engineering as a whole," said Dr. Wolodko, the chapter's program chair.

Students learned about failure analysis by figuring out what caused a specific failure and how it can be remedied. The camp employs a variety of experiments and lab activities, covering metallography, mechanical testing, light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, chemical and image analysis, and more.

Jason's group looked into a thermostat failure on a water heater. Meanwhile, Katherine and her peers had to determine why a type of hip replacement joint failed all five random tests in the same way.
With the guidance of a camp mentor, Katherine's group discovered the hip replacement joints were improperly cooled during manufacture, creating the weakness that led to the failures. "It was really cool. Normally, professionals would solve problems like this. But here a group of 16- and 17-year-olds got to do it. I felt very, very special being in that group."

In 2002, Jessica Cobler of Sturgeon Composite went to the camp's eastern version, held in Ohio.


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