Rose-Hulman’s Operation Catapult Engineering Camp

Rose-Hulman’s Operation Catapult Engineering Camp

Rose Hulman catapult

Today I picked our younger daughter up at Rose-Hulman’s Operation Catapult Engineering Camp, located in Terre Haute, Indiana. Rose-Hulman is a strong undergraduate engineering program that is routinely ranked #1 among engineering schools that do not have PhD programs. The resulting small classes all taught by full professors have a great reputation.

Since our daughter is trying to decide between applying in the fall to science programs or engineering schools, she signed up for this camp to help her make up her mind whether or not engineering is the path she wants to take. Operation Catapult is one of the first college camps of it’s kind and is in its 95th year. In our daughter’s session there were 130 boys and 30 girls divided up into small project teams. You can see our daughter’s team above.

Our daughter’s team chose a “rail runner” project, making an apparatus that went up and down the stair railing. Her team worked well together and to everyone’s surprise had a working prototype by the end of the first full day, which apparently had never happened at the camp before. They spent the rest of the 18 days revising their design, and their last design was a half a minute faster than their first.

Today parents were invited to see the projects science-fair style, and I enjoyed going around and talking with these talented, nice kids about what they had done. You can see some photos of them below, with our daughter’s team in the first several photos.

Our daughter wishes the camp was more challenging and her biggest complaint was about the food. (She subsisted on cottage cheese, canned peaches, and salad.) Because of the food, I think it is unlikely she will go to school here. And as for engineering? Even though she was successful, I think she is less sure than before that she will be applying to engineering schools in the fall. This increased clarity we were looking for one way or the other.

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