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Hands-on materials camp engages young, aspiring minds

Crystal growing, 3D printing, and explosive demonstrations with thermite — a pyrotechnic substance — were all on the agenda for 16 students from local high schools during Materials Camp at Lehigh last week.

The camps, sponsored by ASM International, are offered each summer on several college campuses throughout the country to junior and senior high school students with strong math and science skills. The students at Lehigh’s camp hailed from 13 different school districts.

“Our goal is to inspire the younger generation to become the materials pioneers of the future,” explained Laura Moyer, faculty advisor and manager of Metallography, Light Optical, Microscopy, and X-ray Diffraction in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Lehigh. “The camp is run almost entirely by our graduate students and features a series of hands-on, interactive lab sessions, lectures, and demonstrations.”

Graduate student coordinators this summer were Jack Edgerton and Rishi Kant.

Students discovered the world of metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, and nanomaterials during the week-long camp. “They learned how these materials are developed and processed, how structure determines the material properties, and how and where these materials are used in the world,” continued Moyer.

To complete the learning experience, camp participants interacted with ASM members, Lehigh Valley business leaders, and Lehigh admissions and financial aid professionals.

By week’s end, students had a greater understanding of materials science and engineering, as well as experience solving real-life materials problems using metals, ceramics, and polymers.

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