Friday July 8, 2016

From camper to camp counselor, Amy Ng loves giving back.

By Kelly Fritz Garrow

As a rising senior at Lakota East High School in West Chester, Ohio, Amy Ng knew she was going to be an electrical engineer. After all, her mother, father, brother and several other family members were already engineering professionals. Plus, she had fallen in love with electrical engineering at an all-female engineering camp the previous summer. What she didn’t know was where she would study.

Her decision to attend a weeklong, co-ed summer engineering camp for high school honor students sponsored by the University of Dayton’s School of Engineering made the decision easy.

According to Beth Hart, who oversees the honors engineering camps, the goal of the program is to give high school students the opportunity to explore the various engineering disciplines through hands-on activities and get a taste of what campus life is like at the University.

“The camps are really a service to the profession rather than recruiting events,” Hart said. The program, which is in its 11th year, is attracting more rising seniors (50 percent), women (26 percent) and minorities (20 percent).

Amy was at first reluctant to consider Dayton because of some false assumptions about what it would be like to attend a Catholic university. But she was drawn in by our University's school spirit and liked the way the professors teaching at the camp were enthusiastic and involved.

”You can tell, even in a summer camp setting, if professors want to be there or are supposed to be there,” she said.

Ng loved summer camp because she enjoyed being around others who were into engineering. “At camp, I wasn’t the weird kid anymore. I didn’t feel pressure to be anything but who I am.”

She interviewed to be a camp counselor after her first year, and the fifth-year senior has served as a counselor for the past four summers in between co-ops with the Nestlé Company and studies abroad at the China Institute.

“I wanted to find a way to give back to the camp that made my decision so easy,” she said. She loves getting to know students “really well, really fast” and finds she learns as much from them as she teaches them. Despite the lack of sleep and the need to enforce camp rules, she finds it nostalgic to work with younger students who are making the same decisions she was just a few years ago.

“The feeling I got at camp has carried through my time at the University,” she said. “I have gotten to know my professors on a professional and sometimes even a personal level and that has been great.”

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