New Grant Supports Students Historically Underrepresented in STEM Fields

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Student's at Rose-Hulman's Operation Catapult summer STEM camp.

Lilly Endowment’s Indiana Youth Programs on Campus initiative is supporting Rose’s summer camps that provide students who have historically been underrepresented in higher education to build their STEM skills and knowledge.

Rose-Hulman has received a $644,873 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Indiana Youth Programs on Campus. The statewide effort is helping support colleges and universities as they provide enriching summer camp experiences for students who have historically been underrepresented in higher education. Rose’s summer camps are designed to build students’ STEM skills and knowledge by working with Rose’s faculty and students, while interacting with high schoolers from around the world. Rose-Hulman is nationally recognized as a leader in undergraduate science, math, and engineering education.

Lilly Endowment is supporting the following programs for the next three summers: Rose Power Camp, a new camp experience for girls who want to build confidence and skill by working in innovation centers, and Operation Catapult, an immersive, hands-on STEM camp allowing students to design, build, and present a project from scratch. 

More information and registration for Rose-Hulman’s summer programs can be found here.

“This continuing partnership with Lilly Endowment’s K-12 educational mission provides additional opportunities for our pre-college programs to encourage and inspire STEM interest and intent in high school students,” said Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons. “Through strong program engagement, summer scholars catalyze and solidify their commitment to STEM careers while gaining the confidence, tools, and knowledge to succeed in their majors and become leaders of the future in their respective fields. This Lilly Grant promotes greater access, so individuals are encouraged to pursue careers and opportunities aligned with their academic capabilities and personal interests.”

This summer’s first Rose Power Camp will be a six-day (June 26-July 1) experience in using machines, tools, fabrication equipment, and other facilities within Rose-Hulman’s Branam and Kremer Innovation Centers and the New Academic Building. Camp participants will explore new project designs and approaches to engineering problems. 

Meanwhile, Operation Catapult will offer three 11-day sessions this summer: June 7-17, June 21-July 1 and July 12-22. In each of these experiences high school students will be exposed through hands-on projects and lectures to the different types of engineering available for study. Teams work with faculty mentors to complete a project such as building a catapult, creating/coding a computer program using Python, designing a frisbee thrower, or creating a car that uses microprocessors and sensors to complete tasks autonomously.

Also, this Lilly Endowment’s Indiana Youth Programs on Campus grant will enable Rose-Hulman to develop a new program within the Operation Catapult camp to feature specialized areas of science that students may not be aware of or have misconceptions about – such as physics, optical engineering, chemistry, and biomathematics. Visiting students will work on projects within these academic areas, with Rose-Hulman faculty mentors, and periodically meet with Rose-Hulman students to get further insight about those career fields.

To further broaden the reach, Rose-Hulman has also recently launched the RoseSTEM program to encourage college enrollment for students who have been historically underrepresented in the STEM fields and demonstrate a strong aptitude toward science and math. Rose-Hulman is partnering with Indiana community-based organizations to reach students and encourage college enrollment in STEM fields. Partner organizations promote student participation in Rose-Hulman sponsored college planning sessions.

Tom Bear, vice president for enrollment management, points out that Rose-Hulman’s approach to education in a hands-on environment, with real-world experiences helps to better inform and build STEM interests within high school students – many of whom eventually attend the college.  

“Our summer programs maintain a strong pipeline of interest while also ensuring that these prospective high school students get the tools and information necessary to excel,” Bear said. “These experiences build students’ STEM preparedness as well as competitiveness for college admission. Our goal is to have all students consider STEM careers with many enrolling at Rose-Hulman.”