St. Olaf News

 

Physics and Engineering Camp earns Pentair grant for second year

St. Olaf Associate Professor of Physics Jason Engbrecht helps participants in the college's summer Physics and Engineering Camp for Girls.

St. Olaf Associate Professor of Physics Jason Engbrecht helps participants in the college’s summer Physics and Engineering Camp for Girls.

The Physics and Engineering Camp for Girls at St. Olaf College has received a grant from the Pentair Corporation for the second year in a row, allowing all participants of this summer’s program to attend free of charge.

One of nine camps that St. Olaf offers in the summer for middle and high school students, the Physics and Engineering Camp encourages young girls to explore the sciences.

During the camp, participants learn to design and develop a Rube Goldberg Machine, a complicated contraption that uses a number of whimsical and counterintuitive steps to accomplish a very simple task.

Past camp participants have designed machines to make a bowl of cereal, deliver a gumball, or put toothpaste on a toothbrush, says St. Olaf Associate Professor of Physics Jason Engbrecht, who is the program’s faculty leader (St. Olaf student teams won the national Rube Goldberg Machine Contest in 2012 and 2009 with the help of Engbrecht).

As part of the Pentair Corporation, the Pentair Foundation offers grants to programs that provide opportunities in STEM education.