Counselor Testimonial (and Past GAMES camper)

by Grace Pakeltis, Materials Science and Engineering, Class of 2016

As a sophomore in high school, I knew what I wanted to do Chemical Engineering at the University of Illinois. I saw a camp, GAMES, which was for girls looking at different engineering disciplines over the summer. This was perfect for my future plans. I would be able to learn more about my future major at my future college. I sent in my application. The letter was delivered. The decision had been made. “You have been accepted into the GLAM summer camp. Congratulations.”

Sadness filled my body. I did not want to go to the GLAM (Girls Learning About Materials) camp, I wanted to learn about Chemical Engineering. “Although my heart is set on becoming a Chemical Engineer, I suppose I could try this GLAM camp,” I thought to myself. Little did I know, this decision to settle for a different camp, would expose me to the wonderful world of materials and the amazing work of people with Material Science and Engineering degrees.

Within the first minutes of meeting the staff, I knew the week would be unforgettable. Experiencing life on the University of Illinois campus and meeting and learning with the professors in the Material Science and Engineering Department provided me with more knowledge and more inspiration than I could have ever hoped for. I was able to learn about optic materials, biomaterials, and my personal favorite: materials used in sustainable energy. If it were not for all of the wonderful camp counselors and other girls at the GLAM camp, I would not have discovered my love and passion for Material Science and Engineering.

Being a counselor this summer was an amazing experience. I loved being able to share my own experiences with my campers and show them why engineering is an awesome career. Being able to spend time with such intelligent girls who are passionate about STEM fields is so rewarding. One of the reasons GAMES is so awesome is that girls are able to spend so much time with girls who share their passions. Seeing these girls build friendships and networks of girls similar to them is so rewarding. I know I made connections at my camp that I still keep in touch with and being able to help facilitate those connections is incredible. Being a counselor for GAMES reminded me of how much I truly love GAMES camp and the message it sends.

Parent Testimonials

“My daughter really enjoyed camp and all the hands on activities.  She came home with lots of stories and enthusiastic about all of the experiments.  It was great to help her discover if she thought the section of Engineering would suit  her as a career.  Definitely better than starting college and trying to figure it out then!  We also liked that she could get to know U of I and become comfortable with the campus if she attends for college.  She wants to attend GAMES next year.”

“It exposed my daughter to college level engineering.  Anything that can help her make a more informed decision about her future is positive.  All in all, it was a very positive experience for her.”

“My daughter loved it!  In addition to learning more math and engineering in general, she said it really helped her figure out what she is and is not interested in doing for a career.”

“My son starts at Illinois in ECE this fall, my daughter was on the fence of what she wanted to do… I believe she has made a decision..  I believe she is going to pursue ECE at Illinois also.. Your camp made that much of an impression on her.”

Camper Testimonials

“The best thing about GAMES camp is that it was very college geared. There was a lot of information about schooling which I liked. I also LOVED that we got to listen to so many people talk about what they do (at college night and at field trips) it made me want to be like them when I grow up and I liked hearing about what you can do and where you can go with an engineering degree.”

“I really can’t pick just one thing. Everything about GAMES was so engaging and interesting, and each part had different components that made it so fun.”

“The best thing about GAMES camp is the exposure to different aspects of the engineering field we attended. Going to Caterpillar and using the virtual reality and being allowed to use tools such as 3D printers and laser wood printers was an opportunity that I would not have been able to have unless I was here this summer. Basically, the resources U of I has and allows us to use was invaluable.”

“I enjoyed getting to meet girls that are like me and are interested in math and science and forming life-long relationships with people.”

“The best thing at GAMES is the hands-on and real world application that we get to see with mathematics and sciences. Unlike at school, GAMES shows how science and math can change lives.”