May 29, 2007

Camp will teach high school students technology behind cheerleading

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A new summer camp at Purdue University will offer high school students with an interest in cheerleading an opportunity to explore college and career opportunities in technology fields.

Cheering in the Classroom will be July 21-24 for students in grades 9-12. Although the camp is directed toward females with an interest in cheerleading, the camp is open to all high school students.

Campers will participate in a variety of activities and sessions that give them an overview of the various technology-related fields and real-life applications by incorporating the topic of cheerleading into examples.

Christi Jacobs, a graduate student in technology education who was a Purdue cheerleader for four years and captain of the squad her senior year, is organizing the camp.

"Attracting more females into technology careers is a real interest of mine, and as I was thinking of ways to engage females, I came up with the idea of using cheerleading as a platform," she said. "Our goal is to break the stereotype that females can't pursue scientific careers or that technology is not a welcoming place for females."

Jacobs said she would like to see the number of females in Purdue's College of Technology increase and hopes that the camp will trigger an interest in some of the students to pursue technology majors in college.

"Right now, about 12 percent of the College of Technology's undergraduates are female and about 24 percent of the graduate students are women," she said. "The way that females think is so much different, and they can bring so much to the table in scientific and technological fields."

Purdue cheerleaders and College of Technology students and faculty will teach the sessions.

Activities will include:

* Programming a 2-foot-tall robot to perform a choreographed dance. Students will mix their own music and will perform the same dance along with the robot. Jacobs said this activity will allow students to learn computer programming and the physics of sound.

* An activity at Purdue's Envision Center that will utilize motion-capture technology commonly used in video games. Students will create a cheerleading routine on the computer from captured cheerleading motions and will author their own video game. Jacobs said this session will help campers learn about computer graphics, electrical engineering, robotics and physics.

* A session on aviation technology. Participants will throw baskets in a pool and will learn the physics behind how a plane or object "takes off" and "lands."

Jacobs said activities will be offered that relate to all of the majors the College of Technology offers: aviation technology, building construction management, computer and information technology, computer graphics technology, electrical engineering technology, industrial technology, mechanical engineering technology, and organizational leadership and supervision.

At the camp's conclusion, she will ask participants to complete a survey. Jacobs will use the data in her master's degree thesis project that will examine methods to attract women into technology.

To register, go online to
, fill out the registration and medical forms, and return them to the address provided. The cost is $150 per person and includes all accommodations, meals and activities. Students will stay in Shreve Hall and eat in Purdue dining courts.

Those who would like to attend the camp but lack the financial means should contact Jacobs at (765) 494-2331, . Questions about program content can be directed to Jacobs. Questions about registration can be directed to conference coordinator Tom Robertson at (765) 494-7220,

Writer: Kim Medaris, (765) 494-6998,

Sources: Christi Jacobs, (765) 494-2331,

Tom Robertson, (765) 494-7220,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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