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June 24-28, 2013

Materials science and engineering lies at the very heart of all engineering... everything has to be made of something, right?

Materials Campers learn about the mechanics and friction needed to keep an arch intact

Our future increasingly depends on the development of new materials and innovative combinations of materials – think about the various different materials used to make an iPod™, a mobile phone, or a flat-screen TV, or to power a hybrid automobile. Energy is a growing research area in science and engineering—through fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, wind and solar power, "smart" structures, and even nuclear power. Advanced materials will play a crucial role in all of these areas.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Drexel University, in conjunction with the ASM International Philadelphia "Liberty Bell" Chapter, will host Materials Camp℠, a week-long, hands-on academic day camp to introduce high school students to the exciting and important field of materials science and engineering. Materials Camp℠ provides the perfect opportunity for high school students to explore the field of materials science and engineering.

Program Overview

Run almost entirely by graduate students from the department, Materials Camp℠ comprises a series of short lectures together with hands-on, interactive laboratory sessions; an industry visit (in 2010 the students visited the Boeing Helicopter plant in Chester, PA to see the Osprey assembly line); and a small "project activity" that runs throughout the week. Students, faculty, and staff initially get acquainted at a "welcome breakfast" and the students are then immediately immersed in the fascinating world of materials.

Materials Campers explore superconductivity as they interact with magnets at liquid nitrogen temperatures

In the laboratory sessions, camp participants—high school juniors and seniors from across the Delaware Valley, Delaware, and South Jersey—learn about metals, polymers, ceramics, composites, and nanomaterials, how these materials are processed, how their structure determines their properties, and how and where they are used. Camp activities include electron microscopy, heat treating, tensile and impact testing of metals, synthesis of slime and foam polymers, composites, and liquid crystal thermometers. Student teams will also carry out an engineering design project which runs throughout the week (in 2010, participants built and destroyed tested their own composite beams!) with awards for the top teams.

Students "graduate" during a Bar-B-Q luncheon attended by students' family members, faculty, ASM chapter members, and business leaders where they have the opportunity to network with professionals and to explore college and career options.

Breaking things is part of studying Materials! Campers will learn about different methods of studying why and how things break.

Target Audience

  • High School students entering their junior or senior year
  • Highly motivated, inquisitive learners with math and science aptitude


Students will receive free meals, tuition, edutainment, and knowledge. Students are only responsible for their own transportation to and from Drexel University, conveniently located next to Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. For those who prefer to drive, free parking can be arranged.

To Apply

Download the application form

Applications must be received by April 12th, 2013. Required information includes school transcript, a maximum of two letters of recommendation, plus a personal essay (100 words or more).

Mail Application to

Mr. Brian Gorney
Materials Camp Chairperson
3 Brenda Lane
Audubon, PA 19403

Selection Of Finalists

  • This is a competitive application process. Students must have a basic knowledge of algebra, chemistry, and physics and describe why they want to learn more about engineering and materials science and engineering as a possible college major and career.
  • Experienced practicing engineers review each application to select the "best and brightest," highly motivated students who have not yet made a firm decision about their college major or career.
  • Students must have a strong interest in applied science.
  • Prior participation in science fairs is helpful, but not required.

Materials Camp 2012 participants

The 2012 Materials Camp participants

For more information, contact

Support Materials Education @ Drexel

Last updated Tuesday, February 5, 2013