LEAP: Learning Electronics, AI, and Programming

For rising 10th – 12th graders [*IDEA]
June 25th – July 1st, 2023 (Residential & Commuter)
Hendrick House Residence Hall

Camp is FULL for Summer 2023


Residential: $1,000 per camper. Scholarships are available.
Commuter: $600 per camper. Scholarships are available.

See the Summer Camps FAQs page for more information about camp costs and the Trail Blazer scholarship.

*IDEA camps are mission-driven camp sessions led by departments aiming to Increase Diversity, Equity, & Access in STEM majors and careers. These camps focus on support and empowerment of traditionally excluded populations in STEM including (but not limited to) the areas of gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and ability. The absence of their talents is a detriment to the STEM fields. IDEA camps provide a safe environment to build a community of peers and mentors who empower one another to be confident in their exploration of STEM. All are welcome to apply.

The climate is a critical aspect of our everyday lives. The outdoor temperature and rainfall affect everything from clothing choices to crop yields. Understanding the current weather, forecasting future events, and studying the climate begin with gathering atmospheric data. Collecting and processing this data requires cross-disciplinary efforts from scientists and engineers.

Atmospheric data can be collected using small embedded systems deployed in the field. These embedded payloads contain small computers (microcontrollers) and numerous sensors. The sensors gather data, and microcontrollers handle simple processing. However, these weak microcontrollers are insufficient for problems that require complicated computations. Consequently, embedded systems typically transmit their data to a more powerful computer that can perform more complex analyses. These powerful computers are often hosted in the cloud. 

This summer camp will teach you about electrical engineering and computer science. You will learn how individual components of an embedded system work and how to combine them to create a portable weather station. You will learn how your embedded system can communicate with powerful cloud computers and analyze your data with artificial intelligence algorithms. By the end of the camp, you will have a personal weather station you can deploy outside your home! 


In this hands-on camp, you may explore topics related to

  • Introductory programming concepts such as loops, conditionals, and variables
  • Soldering, printed circuit boards (PCBs), and hardware assembly
  • Simple circuits and various sensors
  • Cloud computing and data analysis
  • Foundational concepts in artificial intelligence (AI)

Camp Coordinator(s):

Scott Smith is a second-year Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He researches hardware technologies that help improve network performance in Cloud settings. He is exceptionally passionate about engineering education and hopes to become a professor after the conclusion of his studies. Scott has significant experience as a teaching assistant for several engineering courses and is excited to use those skills to create a memorable summer camp experience.

Nikita Duggar is a second-year Ph. D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses designing and fabricating devices that emit or alter light in 3D. Nikita is committed to increasing diversity in engineering and related fields, and she is excited to apply her mentoring experience from her work as a resident assistant during her undergraduate studies.

Jack Huang is a fourth year PhD student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. As a youth, he was deeply moved by the beauty of waves and vibrations, and never saw the world any other way again. Now, he works on realizing passive photonic integrated devices and circuits that route and manipulate light waves on the microscale. He is eager to share his enthusiasm for waves to make some sense of the physical world around us.

Camp Schedule(s):