Don’t let the summer go to waste while school’s out. Summer break is a perfect time to introduce your children to in-demand science, technology, engineering and math skills while they have fun with new friends and mentors. We’ve pulled together a list of STEM summer camps to help your kids stand out once the school year rolls around.
1. Black Girls Code Summer Camp
About the curriculum and experience: Day camps provide 10 days of hands-on, project-based instruction in which girls engage in tech instruction. The camps run for six hours a day and include lunch, breaks, community building, field trips and, of course, coding. No prior coding experience is required.
Camps offer a space where girls of color can learn computer science and coding principles in the company of other girls like themselves, along with mentorship from women they can see themselves becoming.
Age requirement: 11 to 14 years
Locations and dates (to register, click the links below):
- Washington, D.C.: June 27-July 12
- Los Angeles: July 18-29
- Chicago: July 18-22
- Boston: July 25-Aug. 5
- San Francisco Bay Area: Aug. 1-12
- New York City: Aug. 15-26
Registration for other cities to be shared soon and available here.
Cost: $300 for two-week camps in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., and $150 for one-week camp in Chicago. For all camps, a limited number of need-based scholarships will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
2. National Society of Black Engineers Summer Engineering Experience for Kids
About the curriculum and experience: SEEK, a three-week program, is designed to expose black children to STEM fields as early as the third grade and through 12th grade. Students participate from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, so each student is given 105 contact hours per summer. The program utilizes NSBE collegiate members—the majority of whom are black and majoring in STEM fields—as student mentors.
Age requirement: Third to fifth grades; must be available for entire three-week program.
Locations and dates:
- Atlanta (all-female program): June 13-July 1
- Chicago: July 18-Aug. 5
- Denver (Northeast): July 18-Aug. 5; (Southwest): June 20-July 8
- Detroit: July 25-Aug. 12
- Houston: June 13-July 1
- Lancaster, Texas: June 13-July 1
- Los Angeles: July 11-29
- Philadelphia: July 25-Aug. 12
- Washington, D.C. (Northeast): July 18-Aug. 5; (Southeast, all-female program): July 11-29; (Southeast, ninth to 12th grades): July 11-29
Cost: Free; nonrefundable $50 application fee per student
3. Bronx Community College Science and Technology Entry Program
About the curriculum and experience: STEP’s Drone Project is a five-week, hands-on program that will introduce students to the emerging applications of unmanned flight. Students will investigate the science and technology applications related to building, programming and flying drones. Student teams will study and construct copter drones and apply principles of flight through competitive exercises. Participants will also address the rising ethical and moral issues related to drone use by the military, privacy concerns and who will eventually be allowed access to drone technology.
Age requirement: Seventh to 12th grades
Location: Bronx Community College in New York City
Dates: July 5-Aug. 4
Registration: Email Mariela Varlerio for an application.
4. Manhattan College Summer Engineering Awareness Program for High School Students
About the curriculum and experience: Upcoming high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to become more exposed to the engineering field through presentations from guest speakers; experiments in mechanical (aerospace and energy), civil, electrical, environmental (water filtration) and computer engineering; class lectures; and the college admission process. Directed by Walter P. Saukin, Ph.D., associate professor of civil engineering at Manhattan College, the program also explores engineering careers in the fields of law, business, medicine and education.
Age requirement: 11th and 12th grades
Location: Manhattan College in the Bronx, N.Y.
- July 6-8, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
- July 11-15, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
- July 18-19, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Registration: Program application
5. Digi-Bridge #STEAMSummer
About the curriculum and experience: Scholars will spend their time writing code, building and programming robots, exploring science and art through hands-on project creation, and more.
Age requirement: Kindergarten to eighth grade
Location: Kent Academy in Charlotte, N.C.
- June 20-24
- July 11-15
- July 18-22
Cost: $300 per week plus $25 one-time application fee. Need-based scholarships available upon request. Current fundraising campaign will provide 20 scholarships to West Charlotte students.
6. Illinois Institute of Technology Computer Discovery Camp for Middle School Girls
About the curriculum and experience: The camp helps participants develop spatial visualization and problem-solving skills. The purpose of the camp is to stimulate interest in computers and to lay a foundation for careers in computer science and related disciplines. Each summer camp offers a different curriculum so that students can continue to participate every summer. This summer will focus on "Art and CS" using LEGO Mindstorms for Artbotics and software for some graphic design.
Age requirement: Girls entering seventh to ninth grades in fall 2016
Location: Illinois Tech Mies (Main) Campus, Chicago
Dates: July 11-21, Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: $75; scholarships available.
7. University of Dayton Minority Engineering and Technology Enrichment Camp for Young Men
About the curriculum and experience: Minority high school males who will be seniors in the fall are invited to this weeklong program to live on campus, conduct experiments, network with professional engineers, visit engineering and science laboratories on campus, and visit the Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Age requirement: Open to young men who will be high school seniors in the 2016-2017 academic year and are U.S. citizens. Applicants are required to have a 3.0 or higher GPA in a college prep program.
Location: University of Dayton in Ohio
Dates: June 19-25; students remain on campus for the week.
Cost: $100; limited number of scholarships available.
8. Kettering University Academically Interested Minds
About the curriculum and experience: Students will gain an immersive experience on a STEM college campus, including staying in dorms, studying in classrooms and labs, and learning about STEM careers by traveling to industry facilities and seeing scientists and engineers in action.
Age requirement: High school juniors
Additional requirements: African-American, Hispanic and Native American students currently in the 11th grade with a minimum 3.0 GPA in English, math and chemistry courses (two years of high school English; two years of high school algebra or the equivalent preparation; one year of geometry; and one year of high school chemistry with lab).
Location: Kettering University in Flint, Mich.
Dates: July 5-Aug. 5
9. Writers in the Schools Digital Summer Camp
About the curriculum and experience: There are two tracks for this camp. Game Camp combines creative writing with game-based technologies, bridging the writing process with that of game design. Students will become creators versus consumers of media as they use their poems and stories as the foundation for designing original games via platforms including Gamestar Mechanic. Wired Words is a hands-on multimedia camp, where students will work with a professional writer to create digital writing projects drawn from and inspired by their own worlds. No prior experience with technology is necessary.
Age requirement: Third to eighth grades
Location: Briarmeadow Charter School in Houston
Dates: July 11-22
10. Technology Access Foundation Academy
About the curriculum and experience: Campers can choose to explore video game design or robotics. Learn the basics of bot building and video game programming with classes taught by trained STEM instructors from TAF’s school-year programs.
Age requirement: Third to eighth grades
- Robotics: July 11-15, Aug. 1-5
- Game design: July 18-22, Aug. 8-12
Cost: Free (households limited to one free camp session).
Registration: Request an application via email and respond with an essay that answers the question, "How will modern technology shape the future?"
Sherrell Dorsey is a social-impact storyteller who started coding at the age of 14 and now speaks and writes frequently on the intersections of sustainability, technology and digital inclusion. Follow her on Twitter.