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Micron holds a 3-day "Chip Camp" to inspire kids about STEM

 Seven children sitting at a table
Morgan Caviness
Campers building a project in one of the activities held at Micron Camp

A recent partnership between Onondaga Community College and Micron is behind this week's "Chip Camp," a three-day event that began Tuesday morning and aims to stoke excitement in local middle schoolers about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

More than 100 rising seventh- through ninth-graders from Syracuse, Fayetteville and other area schools are getting hands-on experience as they learn from how computer chips and circuits are made to how rockets are launched and robots are programmed, under the guidance of Micron team members and university students and faculty.

Colleen Stevens, Director of OCC's College Science and Technology Entry Program (C-STEP), says camps like these are a step in the right direction.

"We need to partner with the high schools and the middle schools, all the way down to elementary schools, to get these students to start to form their STEM identity," she said. "We need them to be fired up in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade and get that bug and see themselves as a STEM student so that they’re ready to go work in a technical job."

 a poster of writing
Morgan Caviness
Chip Camp participants were asked to write down STEM means to them

Some, like Lyinniah Graham, a 7th grader at H.W. Smith, have already gotten the bug.

“I’m kind of excited to be here because I’ve always been interested in robots and how interesting they can be," Graham said. "Like virtual reality and how they put the microchips inside."

Some city schools are using Micron to teach students about the growing need for local STEM workers. Ninth-grader Katie Callahan of East Syracuse Minoa says she learned about the microchip giant in her biology class, and it peaked her interest.

“They’re coming to Syracuse [sic] and they’re going to be very big and it’s going to have a lot of job opportunities for people my age by the time it’s finished," Callahan said. "And we learned a little bit about the microchip manufacturing part."

On Wednesday, Chip Camp participants will take a field trip to Cornell University and on the final day, Thursday, they will visit the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST).

Morgan Caviness is an undergraduate student who just earned her associates degree at Onondaga Community College for Broadcast Media and Communications and plans to continue studying Broadcast and Mass Communication at SUNY Oswego where she is expected to graduate May of 2025. As a student contributor at WAER, Morgan helps produce digital radio stories.