UW-River Falls Offers Engineering Camp for Teens

January 16, 2015--Wisconsin and Minnesota teenagers with an interest in math and science can explore engineering when they attend a weeklong summer camp on the University of Wisconsin-River Falls campus. UW-River Falls and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Engineering will host Camp Badger Exploring Engineering™ on July 12-18 for students entering eighth grade in the fall and who apply by March 9.  

The camp provides an introduction to the jobs and careers of various engineers with the goal of sparking an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines (STEM). Participants live in the UWRF residence halls and eat in the campus cafeteria.  

"Experience has taught us that this is the best way to help young people understand engineering," said Camp Director Phillip O'Leary, a professor of engineering professional development at UW-Madison. "Campers are directly involved in the learning process and they leave with a better idea of what engineers do in real-life situations." 

Each day campers follow a 12-hour schedule of activities, all facilitated and chaperoned by university faculty and college students. Popular activities are field trips to local companies and engineering facilities. Activities also include project-based exploration, hands-on exercises, team-building projects and small-group discussions. All campers receive a workbook with questions designed to guide journaling and discussion of their experiences. There are no tests. 

This summer marks 17 years of successful camp sessions in Madison and the fifth summer on the UWRF campus. In addition to the camp session held in River Falls, there are five sessions held on the UW-Madison campus, and one at UW-Oshkosh. 

Interested students should submit their application materials no later than March 9 to be considered for the limited spots available in each camp session. Successful applicants will demonstrate determination, creativity, problem solving and time management skills, as well as the ability to get along well with others in a team environment. Cost for the full week, including lodging, meals and field trips, is $595 per student. Campers are responsible for transportation from their homes to campus and back. Need-based scholarships are available.  

"One goal of Camp Badger is to offer an experience to kids who would not otherwise have the opportunity," said O'Leary. Females, representatives of traditionally underserved populations, minority group members and young people who have not had an experience with a pre-college program are encouraged to apply, he said. 

For additional information, including application forms, visit the website at or contact Angela Whitaker in the UWRF Outreach and Continuing Education Office at 715-425-3261 or by email to

Camp Bader

Photo: Sofia Cole of Ellsworth, spends time with Precious at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Mann Valley Farm with Camp Badger Exploring Engineering Camp. The residential weeklong camp is for Wisconsin and Minnesota students entering 8th grade who are interested in math and science. As part of the camp, participants explore various engineering fields and what careers are involved.

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