Sisters Shannon and Stephanie Saunders work with instructor Jennifer Seger on assembling a car robot Aug. 6 in a STEAM camp at Macomb Community College’s South Campus in Warren.

Sisters Shannon and Stephanie Saunders work with instructor Jennifer Seger on assembling a car robot Aug. 6 in a STEAM camp at Macomb Community College’s South Campus in Warren.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Full ‘STEAM’ camp builds engineers

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published August 9, 2019

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WARREN — Local middle school students had a “blast” when they built rockets, robots and more during a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, camp at Macomb Community College’s South Campus.

Two weeklong camps were held: one the week of July 29, and the second the week of Aug. 5. Each camp featured the same curriculum, with one camp funded by General Motors Co., and the second camp funded by Bosch. Different students attended each camp, which was held in one of the campus buildings. The students attended the camp at no charge.

MCC mechatronics professor Jennifer Seger oversaw the program, which provided a number of hands-on activities to the students.

“They’re learning building skills, how to troubleshoot, how to work together, and they had to download software. We’re hoping to spark some interest in the students for STEAM and expose them to different careers,” Seger said. “A lot of careers are auto-related in this area, but the skills are applicable across the nation.”

While the students learned and developed new skills, the camp was also meant to be enjoyable.

“The enthusiasm is there,” Seger said. “If it’s fun and if they like it, they’ll continue to take courses toward their careers. You have to keep them engaged.”

On Aug. 6, students worked in teams of two and three to build their own robots. Once the robots were built, the teams raced them in a hallway against each other in a competition.

Sisters Stephanie Saunders and Shannon Saunders worked as a team to build a robot they named “Steve.” Stephanie Saunders, who will be in the eighth grade this fall at Trinity Lutheran School in Utica, said the robot parts came in a box, and she and her sister, a sixth grader at Trinity Lutheran, followed the instructions to build it. The sisters thought the camp sounded like a cool idea.

“There were many different things you could learn,” Stephanie Saunders said.

St. Clair Middle School eighth grader Dylan Cowper and his brother, seventh grader Devon Cowper, worked with teammate Anthony Almeranti to build a robot, which they named “Terminator.”

“It’s kind of hard to get everything where it needs to go,” said Almeranti, a seventh grader at Anchor Bay North Middle School, who added that he thought the camp was “pretty fun.”

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