What it Takes: Exploring Engineering Virtual Camp

For rising 9th – 12th Graders
July 6 – July 27, 2023 (Virtual only)

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Application deadline: Sunday, March 26, 2023

WYSE will continue to accept applications after the deadline until camp seats are filled.


Virtual: $400 per camper.  Scholarships are available.

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

What to expect

  • Multi-week experience of exploring 10-12 engineering fields through presentations, speakers, demonstrations, and hands-on labs and projects.
  • Virtual field trips to working research labs on campus and related industries.
  • Unique breakout sessions around special interests such as women and minorities in engineering, college essay writing, and more.
  • Hands-on labs and projects using materials from the Lab Kit that will be mailed to your home.
  • Meet new people and engage socially as well as academically during small group sessions via web conference, facilitated by a University of Illinois student who will be your guide for the camp.
  • NEW! Register as an individual or register as a group. This experience can easily be integrated into a community organization’s summer program. Interested community organizations should contact us at wyse@illinois.edu for more information about this new opportunity.

Camp Structure

  • Each week will focus on 4-5 different engineering fields (schedule coming soon)
  • Friday-Monday of each week will focus on the independent projects from the lab kit. An online website provides videos and written instructions. There will also be optional “Office Hour” sessions for each of the 4-5 projects scheduled during this time so that the campers can log into a web conference to ask questions or just check in with faculty or college students staffing the session.
  • Tuesday-Thursday of each week will have a scheduled 3-hour web conference to take a deeper dive into each of the 4-5 engineering fields of that week. These deeper dive sessions are led by faculty and college students in the highlighted field and will include a variety of activities such as student or alumni panels, Level 2 hands-on projects, and virtual field trips or demonstrations. Attend as many sessions as you can, but if your schedule doesn’t allow it, you can view the recordings at a time that’s more convenient for your schedule.
  • Small group community-building activities and discussions with a camp counselor will be scheduled for the afternoons/evenings 3-days a week. We believe that any camp experience should include the opportunity to build new relationships with peers and mentors that will last beyond the camp experience.


“I had many opportunities to receive support from and connect with other women in STEM and really liked connecting with other students in different states and interests.” ~2020 WIT camper

Virtual camp activities will occur through these 3 processes:

  • LIVE sessions using video conferencing or webinar tools (e.g. Zoom).
  • Independent or “at your convenience” sessions will include videos, articles, and labs that will be accessed through a password-protected website.
  • Community Chat (e.g. GroupMe, Discord, Slack) will be accessible for any-time communication between campers, counselors, and course instructors.

“The best thing about the “What It Takes” summer camp is that while it was virtual, it provided me with experiences that felt as if I was in the lab or classroom performing experiments and activities. All of the activities we did were very engaging and allowed me to think creatively and challenge myself. It was amazing to be able to tap into my abilities.” ~2020 WIT camper

Camp Schedule(s):