STEM campers visit Manitowoc

John Irwin
Jacob Steier of Greencastle-Antrim High School got a lesson on using a crane from Robert DeWalt, technical training instructor at Manitowoc, during the Mont Alto STEM camp visit to the Shady Grove facility last week. JOHN IRWIN/ECHO PILOT.

Local high school students arrived at Manitowoc Cranes in Shady Grove Wednesday morning, July 11, as part of a weeklong summer camp hosted by Penn State Mont Alto.

Jacob Steier, a rising sophomore at Greencastle-Antrim High School, was among the 20 students participating in the STEM camp who had the chance to use the newly acquired crane simulator at Manitowoc’s training facility.

“This has been a great opportunity for me to get out there and see what people in the career are doing,” explained Steier, who is keeping an open mind as college approaches. “I think it’s a good idea to go out and take advantage of these opportunities that, in the future, will help you pick your career goal.”

After his experience with the crane simulator, Steier says he is considering becoming a crane operator.

The camp centered on the acronym STEM — which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Science, technology, engineering and math are emerging in new careers across various industries every day,” explained Helen McGarry, director of continuing education at Penn State Mont Alto. “There were 8.6 million STEM jobs in 2015 alone, and that number continues to grow. Manufacturing and health care, two large players in our region, use STEM advancements and technology to further their capabilities and remain competitive. This camp utilizes full-time Penn State faculty and partners with a local manufacturer to broaden the experience for campers.”

Four interactive sessions gave students a comprehensive understanding of the work that goes on at Manitowoc. They included a walk around and explanation of a crane and its parts, a cabin simulator, and two talks — "Control Systems" and "The Effect of Shape on Structures."

“The hands-on experience makes it real, helping them to better appreciate the work, the challenges and the rewards,” said McGarry. “During the week, they have exposure to our professors in addition to industry leaders, students, researchers and other like-minded youth.”

The week also saw students participating in a robotics challenge, learning about drones and taking classes on information technology and physics.