Particle physics art

College of Technology camp reinforces the art of modern construction

August 8, 2022

Purdue University Northwestern College of Technology and Assistant Professor of Construction Engineering and Management Technology Afshin Zahraee are laying the foundation for a new generation of professionals with Bridge Engineering Construction Summer Camp.

The week-long immersive camp, aimed at middle and high school students, aims to promote learning about building materials, 3D design processes, surveying and more. The end goal is to design and build a bridge that is both cost and support efficient. In addition, the camp allows students to take a head start in a better understanding of the field of construction.

“We want to spark interest at an early age and for kids to know that there’s so much more to building than the orange vests they see driving traffic to their parents,” Zahraee says. “We want them to understand the different areas of construction and to understand that there are jobs that are heavily computerized, some that are based on being outdoors all the time, and others who are a mixture. It is important that these students know how vast the field is.

Smith Ready Mix campers and employees stand in front of a concrete mixer truck

Campers came together with Smith Ready Mix and a concrete mixer truck to get hands-on experience with concrete in construction.

Speaking about the importance of STEM camps like this, Zahraee highlighted their need and help in fostering the career aspirations of children.

“Campers get insight into the terrain and application of the hands-on portion that they may miss in some theory-based middle or high school courses, like physics and math,” says Zahraee. “By gaining these experiences, campers can become more interested in a STEM career path and realize in advance what the theory they will understand will be applied to.”

PNW thanks the following camp sponsors for their continued support: Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, Fiberforce, Smith Ready Mix, Hasse Construction, Indiana Ready Mix Concrete Association, Lehigh Hanson Concrete, Olthof Homes and Ozinga.

“I am extremely proud to be part of the PNW group that organizes camps like this for young people,” says Zahraee. “It is important to raise awareness and let children know that the field is more than formulas and memorization. There is a world out there to discover and I am glad that we are serving the Northwest Indiana region and giving children the opportunity to succeed now and later in life.

For more information on PNW Summer Camps, visit To learn more about the College of Technology, visit