Electrical Engineering Summer Academy-University of Tulsa

Electrical Engineering Summer Academy

The Summer Engineering Academy at The University of Tulsa for Precollege Students is scheduled for June 27-July 1, 2022, and is for students interested in careers in electrical and mechanical engineering. This cost-free, day-only, commuter academy, allows students to experience engineering through hands-on design projects, seminars, industry professional interaction, and an integrated project related to traffic crash reconstruction. The faculty of the Academy includes professors from the Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Education Departments at TU and local high school teachers.

The teachers receive training prior to the academy and use this training to help students with the academy’s activities. Teachers also receive support to implement the academy exercises, or similar ones, within their classrooms. The Director is Professor Peter LoPresti, 918-631-3274 or peter-lopresti@utulsa.edu.


Employment opportunities in science and engineering occupations are expected to increase through the end of the decade. However, there has been a declining trend in enrollment in undergraduate science and engineering majors at U.S. universities. In fact, the U.S. trails many other industrialized nations in the percentage of bachelor’s degrees in science and engineering. A contributing factor to this problem is that engineering lacks a formal presence in K-12 education. As a result, many qualified students are unaware of career opportunities in science and engineering, and thus fail to pursue technical majors in college.

The objectives of our program are

  1. To make students aware of engineering career opportunities through hands-on design projects, seminars, and tours of local companies.
  2. To train middle school and high school teachers in engineering-related activities and provide support to the teachers in implementing academy exercises within the teachers’ classroom during the regular school year.
  3. To attract more Oklahoma students into engineering study to help meet Oklahoma technical employer needs.
  4. To illustrate the need for students to develop math and science skills to tackle challenging and interesting engineering problems.

Basic Information

  • Academy dates are June 27 – July 1, 2022
  • Students entering grades 8 through 11 in the fall of 2022 can apply.
  • Teacher training will occur the week prior to the Academy.
  • Commuter Academy: Students are dropped off between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., students are picked up about 4:30 p.m.
  • The application forms must be submitted by April 22, 2022, to be considered for the Academy. Forms received after that date will be put on a waiting list in the order they are received.
  • While the student form can be completed by the student themselves, additional forms must be filled out by a guidance counselor or adult mentor, as well as the student’s math or science teacher.
  • Application forms are available online in the sidebar or at the bottom of the page.
  • Application decisions will be made during the week of May 10, with email correspondence to follow.
  • Sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, so there is no cost for the student to attend the Academy.
  • Please contact Marla Zumwalt at marla-zumwalt@utulsa.edu or (918) 631-3270 with any questions.


Communication and Team Building

The purpose of this activity was to explore the various ways that groups of people communicate and work together to arrive at a common goal. The first part of the exercise involved an ice-breaking game where the students were each given game pieces, a subset of the game rules, and basic instructions, and then had to put together the highest value hand possible. The students had to exchange information and communicate with peers, decipher conflicting rules, and plan a strategy for success.

The Wheatstone Bridge Circuit

Students will build a bridge circuit comprising two bonded strain gages and two precision resistors. The bonded strain gages will be attached to a slender aluminum bar with holes on both ends. The students will complete the circuit and use a voltmeter to measure the bridge output voltage as weight is added to the end of the bar. Thus, the students will build their own weigh scale.

Weigh a Vehicle Using a Strain Gauge

Once their Wheatstone bridge circuit is completed, the students will weigh two vehicles. The vehicles will be on a platform and suspended a couple of inches off the ground from three points. The students will be given the task to use a prewired strain gage to determine the weight on the platform. The students will be given a worksheet that guides them in determining the total weight and center of gravity location of the cars. The students will be measuring the weight with a voltmeter. These vehicles will be used in a crash test on Thursday. This activity combines both mechanical and electrical engineering concepts.

Mechanical Drawing

Students will learn how to use PowerPoint to draw and properly dimension the base plate for the autonomous car built later in the academy. The students will be guided in this activity through interactive instruction facilities, and then create a file for directing an automated laser cutting machine to physically realize their designs.

Engineering Design and Troubleshooting

Students will work through and learn about the engineering design process as they attempt to solve several challenges. The students will also be guided through the thought process involved in troubleshooting a design that is not performing as expected.

Professional Development and Planning

Professionals from different tracks, such as manufacturing, research, and technical marketing will talk with students about careers and the practice of engineering. The visitors will be recent college graduates or current undergraduate interns that can discuss issues related to college education and work environment. The time will be used to discuss academic and financial planning for college, complemented by some of the speakers’ personal experiences. Engineering as a profession will be discussed, including responsibilities, ethics, and career paths, and an interactive ethics game will be played to discuss the social responsibilities of engineers


Online Student Application
Online Guidance Counselor / Adult Mentor Form
Online Math or Science Teacher Evaluation