GRAND RAPIDS – Middle school girls from West Michigan and Battle Creek will delve into engineering and science concepts and gain hands-on experience at the annual STEPS Camp offered at Grand Valley State University in June.

This is the 18th year Grand Valley has hosted the Science Technology and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) day camp for girls who will be entering the seventh grade in the fall.

Nearly 100 participants are expected during two camp sessions: June 17-20 and June 24-27. For the first time, 24 girls from Battle Creek Public Schools will attend the first session of STEPS Camp. 

Grand Valley received a $15.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, enabling the university to partner with BCPS to help provide middle and high school students a pathway to careers in health care and education. Under the grant, BCPS middle and high school students can attend science- and technology-focused summer camps at Grand Valley.

STEPS campers work throughout the week to learn the concepts of flight and build a radio-controlled airplane. Campers fly their airplanes on Fly Night, the last day of their session.

Other key events include field trips to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and the Amway/Alticor hanger; presentations from Tim Evans, Grand Valley associate professor of biology, who spent 45 days in a NASA simulated space mission; and Grand Valley engineering students who built and tested a device for astronauts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, as part of the Micro-g NExT Design Challenge.

Other STEPS Camp sponsors are Amway, Bosch Community Fund, Gentex, GE Aviation, SME Education Foundation, West Michigan Aviation Academy, NDIA, Arconic Foundation, ITC Holdings, and the NASA Michigan Space Grant Consortium.