FLINT – Kettering University is expanding its summer learning camps to target Flint students thanks to a grant from Ford Motor Company’s Corporate STEAM fund.

The $32,000 grant will allow for the creation of the Flint Schools Summer Day Camp in July 2017.

The summer camp will focus on creating and learning about model electric vehicles with 20 Flint students. The funds will help with registration fees, supplies and transportation for the students. The camp will be open to high school students, grades 9-12.

“I was blown away when Ford approached us to sponsor this summer camp. I was impressed that they recognized the value of the STEM learning opportunities at the camps,” said Bob Nichols, Director of the FIRST Robotics Community Center at Kettering University. “There’s no secret Ford is so involved in STEM. This allows them to make an impact in the Flint community.”

The idea for this new summer camp formed after Prashant Javkar, manager of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Strategy & Programs at Ford, came to campus with his son for a Computer Engineering camp this past summer.

“When I visited the campus, I loved the energy of the close-knit community of students and had a fun time witnessing the camp participants compete in the concluding challenge. The parent overview provided by Bob Nichols gave me a good idea about Kettering’s philosophy and approach to teaching,” Javkar said. “My visit to Kettering in the summer of 2016 let me experience the well-equipped Robotics Center, and a chat with Bob Nichols reinforced the fact that there was a great opportunity to design a summer camp for the Flint community students.”

Nichols hopes to expand summer camps with more STEM activities outside of robotics, and this camp will help with that. Outside of the STEM activities during the camp, Nichols said there will also be SAT training for the students.

“We want to make it well-rounded for the students. The whole idea is to get these students excited about STEM. We are a community center. This is supposed to be here for the Flint area students. The partnership with Flint students is exactly what we are here for,” Nichols said. “It’s pretty exciting. I think there is a lot of opportunity for us to work with Flint kids.”

This is not the first time Ford and Kettering have collaborated. Just like in the past, this partnership allows both Kettering and Ford to make an impact in students’ lives.

The partnership seems like a perfect match, Javkar said.

“Ford has the vision of working with key partners to deliver innovative STEM programming to our future leaders. We at Ford really believe that the project-based method of learning combines the best of both worlds, and Kettering University’s integrated cooperative education program recognizes that there is as much to learn in a workplace as in a lecture hall,” he said. “Knowing Kettering’s history of delivering high quality pre-college programs and successful summer camps, we hope that this effort will also be very successful. We also love the fact that this new summer camp will provide the students an opportunity to learn various aspects of a STEM curriculum and then allow them to apply the same through academic exercises and challenges.”

For more information, visit www.kettering.edu