Local middle and high school students got the opportunity to work in a professionally-equipped engineering lab this summer thanks to the staff of Chapman University’s Fowler School of Engineering. The students learned about 3D modeling and printing, assembling electronic components, and coding to complete projects that include a custom-engraved LED-powered light and an Arduino-controlled toy car. (Arduino is a type of inexpensive microcontroller board that can be customized for a variety of engineering projects.)

This is the second year in the program for Sophia Ungureanu, a homeschooled student with an interest in pursuing a career as a simulation and software engineer. “It’s fun to be here,” she said, taking a break from soldering a circuit board for her Arduino car in the Design/Create/Innovate Lab. She is considering applying to Chapman in a few years. “It’s an amazing school.”

Chapman engineering students are assisting with the courses, teaching basic skills and guiding students through their projects step by step. “It’s amazing to see them pick things up so quickly,” said Kalin Richardson ’26, a software engineering major who was teaching soldering skills to the students during the session. She enjoys the challenge of learning how to mentor kids of different ages.

“This is a great facility that is available to all our undergraduate students,” said Makerspace manager Miyuki Weldon, who organized the Summer Engineering Academy program as a way to show off the new engineering facilities to potential students from the City of Orange.