Lancaster, OH- The Fairfield 33 Development Alliance wrapped up its inaugural Engineering and Technology Summer Camp on Friday, July 14. Students showcased the projects they worked diligently on all week during an hour-long presentation on the final day. The week focused on plastics; students learned the chemistry of plastics, the different processes to make plastics and the difference between thermal plastics and thermal sets
"This program was an enormous success and a win-win-win; a win for local students, a win for local schools and a win for local businesses" said Jim Smith, Dean at Ohio University Lancaster Campus.
20 eighth and ninth grade students representing seven different schools in Fairfield County spent their week diving into the realm of plastics and toured local manufacturing companies Midwest Fabricating, Company Wrench and Nifco.
"This was a great opportunity to show students what local business' have to offer in the way of technology and careers," said Rick Szabrak, Fairfield County Economic Development Director. "Watching the students creating plastic products in the lab and seeing their excitement in engineering just shows how great of a job our schools are doing in their STEM programs and gives me great hope for our future workforce."
The camp was facilitated by Gina Orr, instructor at Ohio University Lancaster's Engineering Technology Lab, and Angela Hoy, STEM teacher for Lancaster's General Sherman Junior High School. For these facilitators, their goal for the camp was to make sure that the students left the week looking at the world with a completely different view.
"There are so many rewarding career paths in manufacturing," said Gina Orr. "I'm hoping that this week gave these students a glimpse at the variety of options in the industry and that the paths are endless.'"
One of the main goals of this collaboration is to get rid of the negative stigma surrounding manufacturing. By exposing students to the engineering technology and manufacturing tracks, they will be able to understand that today's technical jobs provides pathways towards interesting, in demand and well-paid jobs.
"My son is a hands on, visual kid and loves to make things. I couldn't think of a better way to stimulate his interests than by sending him to this camp," said Renee Reilly, mother of Thomas Ewing eighth grader Graham Reilly.
The Engineering and Technology Summer Camp was sponsored by Ohio University Lancaster, Lancaster City Schools, the Fairfield 33 Alliance, Ohio Electric Cooperatives on behalf of South Central Power, Commissioner David Levacy, and Dagger Law. The camp was free for students thanks to the contributions of local business and the Fairfield 33 Alliance.
The Engineering Technology Summer Camp is open to any student who will be enrolled in eighth or ninth grade at a Fairfield County school or are home school and is interested in STEM academics. Please visit
for updated information on the 2018 camp.