EGEAR Summer Camp

Welcome to EGEAR Summer Camp, where we Engage Girls in Engineering through Art and Reading! EGEAR is a day camp that uses art, literature, and toys to explore engineering concepts, particularly spatial reasoning and computational thinking.

SUMMER 2019 PROGRAMS: June 24th – 28th


Recommended Age: Girls entering 2nd or 3rd grade in fall 2019; Max. 18
Session Fee: $180
Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm

Description: This camp will use fictional and non-fictional characters, games, toys, and fun maker projects to introduce various STEM concepts. Campers will get a book to take home each day, and we will go on adventures to various labs and galleries around campus! Note: Extended morning and afternoon care may be available upon request; additional fees may apply.

(B) EGEAR PLUS: Bricks & Blox 

Recommended Age: Girls entering 4th or 5th grade in fall 2019; Max 18
Session Fee: $120
Time: 8:00am – 11:30am

Description: This camp session will focus on building with a variety of construction toys, such as Legos, K’Nex, Goldie Blox, and more! Girls will have free play, as well as structured team play to build Rube Goldberg machines, theme parks, and other fun projects.

(C) EGEAR PLUS: Bits & Bots

Recommended Age: Girls entering 4th or 5th grade in fall 2019; Max 18
Session Fee: $120
Time: 12:30pm – 4:00pm

Description: This camp session will focus on experimenting with different materials to make simple circuits and using blocky coding apps for programming projects. Girls will have opportunities for free play as well as structured team play with programmable Little Bits and Ozobots.

(D) EGEAR ADVANCED: Sewable Circuits **NEW**

Recommended Age: Girls entering 5th or 6th grade in fall 2019; Max. 12
Session Fee: $150
Time: 8:00am – 11:30am

Description: This camp session will focus on a specific project to create unique crafts with felt, conductive thread, and a range of LEDs and microcontrollers. Each participant will receive her own sewable circuit kit (which is hers to keep!). No sewing experience is required, but participants should be comfortable working with fabric scissors, needles, and glue guns with moderate supervision. The kit includes patterns for masks, nightlights, buttons, and more. Of course, these are just suggestions; with a little creativity, the possibilities are endless!

(E) EGEAR ADVANCED: Paper Circuits with Origami **NEW**

Recommended Age: Girls entering 5th & 6th grade in fall 2019; Max. 12
Session Fee: $150
Session Time: 12:30pm – 4:00pm

Description: This camp session will focus on specific projects using paper, conductive tape, and a programmable Chibi Clip to create glowing paper art. Each participant will receive her own Love to Code Creative Coding Kit (which is hers to keep!). Origami instruction will be included with this session. No prior origami or programming experience is required.

Please note that due to financial constraints we had to increase our fees for this year. If you are interested in donating to this program, or wish to sponsor a camper in need, please contact us at We plan to continue to offer full or partial scholarships to any camper in need of financial assistance.

EGEAR campers and EGEAR Plus/Advanced campers registered for both a morning and afternoon session will need to bring their lunch each day. We will provide small snacks each morning and afternoon. Campers are also encouraged to bring refillable water bottles to use throughout the day.

A non-refundable 50% deposit per session is due at time of registration. The remainder is due no later than June 10th. There are a limited number of spots open per session, and we have sold out in the past, so please register early! Camp registration will include all required materials for activities, projects, and an EGEAR camp t-shirt.

Please direct all registration questions to Dr. Ruth Wertz at or 219-464-6965.


Click the pictures to watch our videos!


Team Challenge

R2D2 Visit

For years, researchers have tried to understand why there are so few women in STEM fields. In early elementary school, girls and boys show equal interest and ability in science and math, so what happens? Of course, this is a highly complex problem with many contributing factors. One important factor is spatial ability, the ability to create and rotate mental models in your mind’s eye. Spatial ability is a different skill set than math ability and has not historically been a traditional component of early childhood education. Gaps in spatial ability between girls and boys can be detected as early as elementary school and tend to become more pronounced with age. Research across various cultures suggest that biology is not the reason these gaps develop, instead it may have more to do with how kids play, and what they play with. For example, research participants who were found to have above average spatial abilities were also more likely to report having played with blocks, erector sets, and other types of construction toys; in other words, toys that require visualizing how things fit together, interpreting 2D graphics to build 3D models, and observing how materials could be combined to make and support complex shapes and structures. We think it’s important that girls get the opportunity to explore these types of toys and activities in their own space, and in their own way.

It’s no secret that being a great engineer is about a lot more than being good at math and science. But what exactly does more include? We tell our engineering students on a regular basis that all the easy well-defined problems have been solved. Employers will be hiring them for their ability to think and solve problems creatively and to communicate complex ideas to a broad range of audiences. Of course, these skills require a strong technical background, but they also leverage a strong liberal arts background that promotes different ways of learning, thinking, and doing.

More than that, art and literature provide ways to connect to and explore the physical world we occupy. It’s one thing to learn about circuits with conductors and insulators using obscure-looking breadboards and electrical components. It’s another thing all together to create animals and designs out of Playdoh and modeling clay that are lit up by LEDs with two wires and a battery! Same basic lesson, but learning through play, art, and even favorite story characters has the potential to immerse kids in a different experience entirely.

Spatial skills (spatial relations and spatial visualizations) have been identified by the National Science Board as being just as critical for success in STEM as math and verbal skills. In addition, computational thinking skills (pattern recognition, sequencing, logic, etc.) are essential building blocks of programming and programming language, and thus are also emerging as critical skills for careers in STEM fields.

Our EGEAR campers will participate in activities designed around games, toys, and projects that target spatial skills and computational thinking with plenty of room for creativity. Our campers will work, play, and build within teams to compete in design challenges, scavenger hunts, games, and more. The EGEAR camp will offer research-based curriculum organized and facilitated by Professor Ruth Wertz.

See below for a list of FAQs or contact us at

Q: Is food provided or do I need to send a lunch?

A: Campers will need to bring their own lunch. We will provide two snacks throughout the day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. If your child has a food allergy please make sure to include this information in the medical form.

Q: Where will the camp be located?

A: The camp will be help on Valparaiso University’s campus. We will spend most of our time in the Gellersen Engineering and Mathematics Center, but we will be headed outdoors and explore other parts of the campus as well. We may even get a tour of the new science building, scheduled to open this June!

Q: Are there discounts available?

A: YES! From now through April 30th all families registering for more than one session  will get a discount of $10 per session. Discounts can be applied to single participants registering for two sessions, or siblings each registering for one or more sessions.