The University of Central Florida hosted a K-12 program called "Camp Connect," a summer engineering exploration program for students from underrepresented communities that is facilitated by the Colleg of Engineering and Computer Science's Office of Diversity. The week-long experience takes 8th through 10th graders into the realm of the engineer by exposing them to the many different disciplines found within CECS. Camp Connect also holds a similar, more in-depth experience for returning alumni from the previous summer.
The goal of the camp is to encourage kids to become more interested and realize aims of becoming involved in the engineering field. Students participated in presentations, activities, lab tours and were given insight into what the life of a student and a professional is like in the engineering world. The program provided a method of exploration and preparation advice for the start of a college career by networking with students and faculty here at UCF in addition to presenting their experiences to their peers.
Transportation Engineering and the Center for Advanced Transportation Systems Simulation were showcased in the Camp Connect program. Students were presented with some of the basics of transportation engineering and why transportation engineers are an important asset to the community.
Students also participated in a game called The Reservation Road Planner Game. This game took students through the trials of the transportation planning process, with the goal of completing their individual project the quickest. Through the coordination of Michelle Noch, the Federal Highway Administration generously donated the board games for the camp. The activity provided competition and challenges to campers. Students chose a project to begin with and took it through the process through as far as they could in 45 minutes of gameplay. The five stages included development, project inventory inclusion, funding, preconstruction and construction. To demonstrate the give and take of politics, players were subjected to fees, bankruptcy and the interaction of consulting firms along the way. The game go the students involved with other players and rallied to take their projects to completion. It is with interactive experiences such as this one that students are entertained and educated concurrently, taking the lessons learned with a better understanding of how the transportation planning process works.