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Isothermal Partners With NC State For 4th Annual Engineering Discovery Camp

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Testing their pump protection valves.

"The Engineering Discovery Camp, a partnership between Isothermal Community College and North Carolina State University, engages campers in the engineering design process (EDP) through team-based hands-on activities. Rather than simply following directions like you would when assembling a model airplane, the campers are challenged with a specific problem to solve but the solution remains open ended." says Dale Gaddis, Camp Director.

"We provide the teams with some basic background science and make available rudimentary household materials. From this point they use their creativity and the EDP to develop and 'sell' their plan to the camp leaders in order to obtain their materials. They must plan well because they cannot have unlimited supplies - that's how it is in the real world! Once they have their materials, they then begin the build, test, redesign, and rebuild process. When time is called the teams each present their solutions and put them to the final test. It becomes quite competitive - with cheering, high-fives, etc. - because each team wants to 'win' by having the most successful design."

This highly successful camp experience for local students is led by licensed teachers who have been trained at NC State University and is scheduled for June 18-22, 2018. A typical day consists of two activities (morning and afternoon) followed by group discussions and an awards ceremony, providing campers with opportunities to learn from each other and receive daily recognition for their efforts.

"The camp is for secondary students that are considering engineering as a career and for those that want to find out about engineering or just want something fun to do. Our goal at the camp is that the fun and excitement of meeting the challenges will generate a deeper interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) which will nudge the students into putting their full effort and focus on their secondary school studies. This will ultimately help them be more successful in college." concluded Gaddis.

Dale Gaddis, the camp's director, has a long history of involvement in the development and success of Rutherford County's young people. Aside from his 23 year career as the Chair of the Mathematics Department at Isothermal, Gaddis was the coodinator and emcee for the Isothermal Senior and Junior challenges for 15 years beginning in 1997. Also, Gaddis was the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society sponsor at ICC for 10 years beginning in 1997 and received their Paragon Award for best sponsor.

During the years 2012-2014, Gaddis was one of twelve members from across NC on the Math Curriculum Improvement Project that completely redesigned all math curriculum and re-built all math courses for the entire NCCCS and then held training/implementation sessions across the state. Since 2017, he has coordinated ICC's hosting of the FIRST Lego League Robotics tournaments for the Carolina Isobots. FIRST Lego League is a national STEM project involving robots built from legos, and the Carolina Isobots is a regional group under that umbrella consisting of teams from Rutherford County Schools, Polk County Schools, and Spartanburg District 2 Schools.

It was no surprise that Gaddis was the recipient of the much deserved Tanner Award for Excellence when it was first implemented at ICC. He dedication and committment to the students both at Isothermal and from schools around the area are reflected in his extracurricular activities. The Engineering Discovery Camp is yet another opportunity he has embraced that will enhance the lives of our county's young people.

For more information about The Engineering Discovery Camp, contact Dale Gaddis by calling 828-395-1500 or by email at dgaddis@isothermal.edu.

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