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Future Engineer Camp donors fund summer camp for youths

By Kesha Williams

BOONE, N.C.—Organizers of the Future Engineer Camps program closed another successful summer series thanks to the support of some generous donors.

View larger imageBill Blubaugh, president of US Conec Ltd., presents a $5,000 check to Gina Houston, Future Engineer Camp manager, and Michael McNally, director of the NCCET, and a group of future engineers. Photo courtesy of NCCET

The Future Engineer Camps program was supported in part by a $7,500 gift from the Duke Energy Foundation and a $5,000 gift from US Conec, a telecommunications company in Hickory. Area businesses Shurtape, Carolina Container, A Sign Co., HSM Solutions, Catawba Valley Medical Center, Stewart Superabsorbents, Statesman Furniture, McDonalds, Valdese Weavers and Good’s Home Furnishings donated products and materials to support the camps. 2016 marked the fourth year the Duke Energy Foundation donated to the summer camp series and the third year that US Conec donated to the camp series.

Appalachian State University’s North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies (NCCET) has partnered with N.C. State University’s College of Engineering and Catawba Valley Community College to offer day camps since 2010. The NCCET gathered youths from the third to eighth grade for activities designed to increase their understanding of math, science and technology. Four weeklong camps attracted students this summer from Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Guilford, Hertford, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell, Mitchell, Rockingham, Union, Yancey, Wake and Watauga counties in North Carolina; Charleston County in South Carolina; and Camden County, New Jersey.

Michael McNally, director of the NCCET, said these camps expose students to a range of skills that will be relevant to careers related to math, science and technology. During the summer the youths kept busy with activities related to multiple disciplines in engineering, including biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering and mechatronics.

“In addition to providing access to university degree programs in engineering related disciplines, a goal of the NCCET is to encourage the math and science interests of children,” McNally said. “We hope that these camps help students realize that fun and rewarding careers are available to them if they continue to pursue educational opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. I think that the growth and success of these camps shows that we are on the right track and that our region will be able to meet the long-term workforce needs of our business community.”

About the NCCET

The North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies, a 55,000 square-foot facility in Hickory provides facilities for applied research in engineering-related fields and serves as a conduit to baccalaureate education delivered by institutions in the University of North Carolina system. The facility’s laboratories and classrooms allow community college graduates who have earned an associate degree to enroll in select courses on a part-time basis. Credit hours earned from those courses can be transferred to one of the four-year institutions where those students can earn degrees. For more information on the NCCET, see

About Appalachian State University

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.