Story by Deborah Silliman Wolfe/College of Engineering
The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering is teaming up with BHP Billiton to provide free energy camps to children in Cuero, Texas on Oct. 13. The camps are funded by a donation from BHP Billiton and will be taught at the DeWitt County Boys and Girls Club by UTSA Interactive Technology Experience Center (iTEC) staff and BHP Billiton volunteers.
“ITEC is excited to partner with BHP Billiton to provide energy camps for young people at the DeWitt County Boys and Girls Club,” said Heather Shipley, associate professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the center. “These opportunities allow us to help young people understand how engineering, science, and technology shape our lives and the future of the world.”
UTSA will offer a camp for six to eight year-olds from 9 a.m. to noon. A camp for nine to 12 year-olds will be offered from 1 to 4 p.m.
Shipley says that the camps will help young people get excited about science and engineering as well as engage them in the STEM disciplines through hands-on activities.
“The hands-on activities we present will motivate students to learn more about science and engineering, so hopefully they will choose to study these fields in the future,” she said. “In addition, these camps focus on topics that are going on in these kids’ own backyards.”
Cuero is a part of South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale community. The content of the UTSA camps will help local children learn more about oil and gas. Topics include fossil fuels, renewable energy, and oil and natural gas.
“BHP Billiton is committed to sustainable development and supporting the communities in which we operate,” said David Banks, BHP Billiton Eagle Ford general manager. “These types of programs prepare students to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
BHP Billiton helped launch the DeWitt County Boys and Girls Club in June 2014. In just a few short months, membership has surpassed 100 students.
“The generosity of BHP Billiton in providing our club members with this opportunity to explore energy with the expertise of UTSA’s iTEC will have a phenomenal impact on our youth,” said Christi Fuchs, president of the Boys and Girls Club of DeWitt County. “These partnerships are enabling us to fulfill our mission to allow our members to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
For more information about the camps and the DeWitt County Boys and Girls Club, contact Shannon Haun at 361-524-0005.