Camp Reach has been operating since 1997; it received the Women in Engineering Program Award from a national women in engineering advocacy organization in 2003. In the fall of 2011, President Obama honored the program with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.
The content below holds all information and rules required to ensure a smooth experience for the attendee. We think our plans will give you a summer experience like none other–challenging, well-balanced, and of course, fun!
We can't wait to see you!
Opening and Closing Days
Opening day begins on Sunday with check-in and move-in into the residence halls beginning at 2:00 pm, followed by a welcome session for both participants and families. Families should plan to depart from campus at 4:30 pm, which is when participants will continue with their schedule of ice breakers and games, dinner, ice cream social, orientation, floor meeting, unpacking, and more. The detailed schedule of the opening day schedule will be shared with participants prior to arrival on campus, including the times and locations.
When participants and families arrive on campus, they should drive to the Bartlett Center, found at 60 Institute Road, Worcester, MA. There will be signage and staff to greet and guide participants through the check-in and move-in process. The process is designed so that participants can drive their vehicles in close proximately to the residence halls for convenience of moving all belongings into their room. Please note that we will have staff available to assist in escorting participants to their room with their belongings. Once all belongings are unloaded from the vehicle, the driver should park in the WPI Parking Garage, which is located at 151 Salisbury Street, Worcester, MA and then walk to the residence hall to reunite with the participant.
Closing day activities begin on Friday at 3:00 pm with the closing ceremony, reception, slideshow, and move-out. Participants should plan to move out of the residence hall at 5:00 pm and must return their room key at the check-out table in the lobby of the residence hall. Please note that the WPI Campus Bookstore will be open from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm and is located on the entrance level of the Rubin Campus Center.
Program Schedule and Activities
Participants will have the same general each day, with breakfast at 7:30 am, followed by computer time to keep in touch with family and friends. The design project work occurs from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and the afternoon is filled with hands-on, discovery workshops. Evening activities occur from 6:00 - 9:00 pm. A few examples from previous years include Minute To Win It games, movie nights, dance lessons, S'Mores, financial literacy and career exploration workshops, a lip sync battle, henna, spa night, and more. The evening ends with quiet time and lights out at 9:30 pm so that all participants have energy for the following day. All workshops and activities are intended to instill self-esteem, enhance confidence, and foster group camaraderie.
Design Projects and Discovery Workshops
The DESIGN PROJECT is the major focus of the program. The participants will meet with a customer from an organization in the Worcester community to learn about a carefully pre-selected problem or need of the customer. During the entire two-week program, they will work in teams of ten to develop a solution to the problem, with the support of staff members. Engineering roles will be explained and assigned to each team member so that the problem can be divided and worked on by the entire team. They will present their solution to the customer, who will implement their plans after the conclusion of the program.
Participants will be invited back during the following academic year to see their plans put into action and to participate in several reunions. It is important that the participants and families realize that coming to these events is important. The expectation is that campers come to the two-week program AND the follow-up events.
The design projects for this summer have not yet been selected, but as an example, in a recent program year a team of ten girls worked with the Henry Lee Willis Center, a nonprofit organization in Worcester. (Its Family Care Program places troubled youth in specialized family foster care.) The team of engineers developed a plan for how they could transform a small, multipurpose room in its current facility into an educational and functional study area and computer lab for its foster care children. The team worked to understand the customer’s needs, then created a detailed floor plan of ideas for computer and furniture location, lighting, rug and wall colors, and educational supplies for the room. Other examples of design projects can be found on our website.
- DISCOVERY WORKSHOPS emphasize hands-on learning in pairs or small teams to experience engineering, math, and science concepts through everyday activities. Topics may include rehabilitation engineering, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, forensic science, along with other areas of engineering and science.
- FIELD TRIPS will be made to the design project customers and to visit engineers in industry.
Meals and Dining Hall Information
Participants eat meals in our WPI dining facility. There is a variety of food selections that include a salad bar, grill station, hot entrees, deli sandwiches, pizza, pasta, fruit, and desserts. We are happy to accommodate participants with food allergies and other dietary concerns, including, but not limited to vegan, vegetarian, and Halal meals. If there is a dietary accommodation, please inform our office by June 1 so that we can provide the best dining experience for your participant.
Additional Information to Note:
- We have a Balance U Station that prepares a tasty menu line without the “Top 8” allergens or gluten (milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean). Our culinary staff and associates at the station are all specially trained to limit cross-contact during food prep.
- There is an area of the dining hall, called S.P.A.C.E. (Special Product Allergen Controlled Eating) which has a wide variety of packaged gluten-free foods, cereals, snacks, breads, and prepared pasta. A toaster and microwave oven are also available in this area, and are used only for gluten-free foods to minimize cross-contamination. Non-dairy milk beverages are also available.
- We have a limited nut exposure policy; Nuts/nut oils are not used in any of our food production areas.
- We do not permit outside food in the dining as a precaution for food allergies and other dietary concerns.
Housing and Laundry
Participants live in a WPI residence hall during the program and is a requirement as it contributes to the overall experience. The participants will be supervised in the residence hall by female WPI undergraduate students, Residential Program Assistants (RPAs) and female high school students, Teaching Assistants (TAs). Depending on the specific residence hall assigned, each participant will have one or two roommates. We do not consider requests for roommates so the participants have the same opportunity to make friends with roommates they don’t initially know. Room assignments will be given on opening day at check-in. Each participant will have their own bed, dresser, desk, and closet. Sheets, a towel, and a pillow are supplied; see “Suggested Packing List” for more information.
Residence halls are not air conditioned, so we highly recommend bringing a fan. Washers and dryers are available on campus for campers to do laundry at $2.00 per load. Staff members supervise and assist participants during laundry time on Sunday, which is about half way through the program. Laundry detergent will be provided.
Suggested Packing List
Residence hall rooms include linens (sheets, a towel, and a pillow), however we suggest that you bring the following items.
- clothing items
- hygiene products
- laundry items (quarters, detergent, softener)
- money for the bookstore
- snacks (must be nut-free)
- toiletries and shower shoes
* It is strongly advised not to bring any valuables (expensive jewelry, games, TVs, tablets, etc).
For our two-week programs, many family and friends would like to send mail to their participants. Mail will be distributed during meals or in the residence halls by summer staff members. Please use the following mailing address.
c/o WPI Camp Reach Program
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609-2280
Email and Electronic Usage
During this program, participants are not permitted to bring or use personal electronic devices such as phones, tablets, or laptops. While we understand this may be a hardship for some participants and families, we have found that this helps contribute to building independence and self-confidence. This encourages participants to engage in conversations with peers and role models, be mentally focused on the academic content, and gain the most out of this program that is possible. Participants will receive an individual commuter account with email access used each morning to contact family members. During some academic activities, they will use their computer accounts, but not for email correspondence. Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc) are not permitted during the program.
*Please note our program policy that participants are not permitted to bring cell phones. Families will be asked to come to campus and retrieve any cell phones belonging to participants.
CHRYS DEMETRY, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, co-founded the program with Professor Denise Nicoletti in 1997, and has co-directed the program from 1997 to 1998 and 2002 to the present. Chrys received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WPI in 1988 and a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 1993. She has been on the faculty at WPI since 1993, involved with teaching and research in materials science and in engineering education. She provides oversight for the design project portion of the program.
SUE SONTGERATH, Director of Pre-collegiate Outreach Programs, received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from WPI in 1988. After working in industry for a number of years, she joined WPI to work on various outreach projects, including Camp Reach. She worked within the admissions office, where in addition to Camp Reach she oversees all summer and academic year outreach programs for K-12 students. Sue serves as co-director of Camp Reach and is responsible for overseeing all academic aspects of the program.
SARAH WODIN SCHWARTZ joined WPI in August 2015. Dr. Wodin-Schwartz is passionate about teaching core engineering and critical thinking skills that apply to application driven problem solving. She is especially interested in engineering design and product development. She is excited to work with students to help them understand not only the technical skills required of them as engineers but also the social, environmental, and physical implications of implementing technical engineering solutions.
Participants are supervised 24/7. During the daytime hours, participants are with a middle school teacher and high school Teaching Assistants (TAs) who are former participants. During the evening, participants are with WPI undergraduate students, called Residential Program Assistants (RPAs) who have demonstrated leadership skills, maturity, and have experience with youth. All faculty and staff have been carefully selected to provide participants with a variety of positive role models and have been through extensive training and a background check. Throughout the program, staff supervision ratios exceed the state regulations and camp association recommendations.
Workshops are led by a combination of middle school teachers and WPI faculty. Each workshop is intentional and provides foundational content that is built upon during the two-week program. Safety training is provided to all staff and campers utilizing laboratories for workshops.
A summer health care center is open 24/7 to all program participants, with registered nurses. If your participant needs to take prescription medication while on campus, this should be given to the health care staff when they first arrive on campus at drop-off. Families will pick up the medication from the nursing staff on the last day of the program. Prescriptions must be in their original packaging with the prescribing physician and dosage listed.
Campus Police and WPI community work collaboratively to keep our campus a safe and enjoyable place to live and visit. For further information about the Campus Police Department, please visit their website.
All summer program participants are required to wear lanyards with ID Cards or badges for identification purposes and are not permitted to leave campus without staff knowledge.
The WPI Pre-Collegiate Outreach Programs strives to provide a safe, secure, educational and fun environment for our summer programs participants. In order to achieve this, we ask that all parents, guardians and participants follow all policies that are outlined.
Please visit our Program Policies webpage for complete details.
- Financial Assistance
Forms and Payment
We require the following items to be submitted by June 1 so that we can fully prepare all of our camps and programs. All forms can be uploaded through your Active.com account. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Pre-collegiate Outreach Programs by phone at 508-831-4900 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Payment in full.
- A copy of the participant’s most recent physical and immunizations from a physician. These documents must be within the last 18 months.
- A headshot photo of the participant so that it can be included on the roster for instructors and medical staff. The photograph should be of the head and shoulders only and clearly show your face without hats, sunglasses, headphones, or other accessories. The photo should preferably have a plain white background and saved as a .jpg. *Participants will be issued a WPI Photo ID, which will include this headshot photo. Participants are asked to carry the WPI ID during the program since it will grant access to residence halls, academic buildings, labs, and other facilities on campus.
- The Off-Campus Release Form gives permission for WPI to transport participants off-campus for field trips.
- The Camp Reach Self-Assessment Survey provides information for our staff to best support the participant.
- The Camper/ Parent Joint Agreement provides an opportunity for the participant and their parent to discuss several important topics of the program.