Building Bridges Hispanic Youth Explore Engineering and Sciences

October 01, 2011 | Rosa Jimenez

In August, Walla Walla University and Bonneville Power Administration co-hosted a weeklong science and engineering camp for local high school students. Ten campers in the Hispanic Youth Exploring Engineering and Sciences Camp attended hands-on sessions. They built robots, bridges and pump rockets, and attended lecture/activity sessions about leadership, motivation and more.

Although the HYEES Camp was launched in 2005, this is the first year it has been held at WWU. Previously the camp was held at Washington State University. The program is organized by Bill Erickson, a natural resource specialist at Bonneville Power, and Diana Erickson, Walla Walla Public Schools bilingual coordinator.

"We are enjoying being local this time," says Diana. "All the presenters have been excellent and the students are even raving about the food at the cafeteria."

"I didn't know much about engineering, but what I've learned in the labs has made my mind go ‘wow!'" says Mitzy Rodriguez, Walla Walla High School junior. She also says she now better understands how electrical, mechanical, civil and computer engineering build off each other.

Jazmin Duran, a WWHS freshman, is not sure if she will become an engineer, but is interested in the WWU chapter of Engineers Without Borders, which is currently working with a Honduras community on expanding and improving their elementary school.

"HYEES is all about exposing these students to career options they may not have known before or hadn't thought of as possibilities for themselves," says Doug Logan, School of Engineering dean. "They are a great group of kids and represent a remarkable pool of talent."