High School Camps

Girls learns to solder at a STEM Camp

2019 STEM Career Exploration Camps

From engineering to video game design, 3D printing to meteorology, STEM careers are in demand. But how can you tell which career path is right for you? NIU STEM career camps give you a chance to spend a week immersed in a subject of your choice. You’ll work on real-world projects, meet with experts in your chosen field and learn more about the variety of careers available in each field.

Entering grades 10 - 12, residential, Sun – Fri

  • June 16-21: Engineering, Health Sciences, Physics, Video Game Design
  • June 23-28: Earth Science, Engineering, Health Sciences, Video Game Design
  • July 21-26: 3D Design and Manufacturing, Aerospace, Computer Science
  • July 28-Aug 2: Engineering, Health Sciences, Project Design, Video Game Design


You’ll apply to the track of your choice and spend the bulk of the week with the smaller group of students who have also chosen that track. Evening recreational activities will involve all campers.

Campers can expect a fun and busy week as STEM career options open up before them!

  • Experience dorm life by living and dining in the newly renovated Gilbert Hall.
  • Interact with professionals and students in their chosen STEM fields throughout the day, including informally at meals.
  • Enjoy evening activities, such as video game night, movie night and outdoor recreational activities.

Who should apply? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, STEM Career Explorations is for you!

  • Are you a high school student curious about STEM career possibilities and interested in exploring some of them?
  • Do you like math or science but have no idea what you could do for a career?
  • Are your parents telling you to become an engineer because they make good money, but you don’t know what an engineer does?
  • Do you dream of becoming a nurse, physical therapist or doctor?
  • Do you wonder what other health careers there are behind the scenes at a hospital?

Check out the tracks below!

Campers will choose one track. Register early as each track is limited to 20 participants.

3D Printers are changing the way we build the future. This track will focus exclusively on careers in 3D design and manufacturing and will give you the opportunity to develop skills needed to design and produce your own 3D objects using a variety of exciting technologies. You’ll use the computer aided design program SolidWorks, one of the standard programs used by professionals in the industry. You’ll also have a chance to meet professionals in the field, learn about the many different industries and applications that use 3D printing technologies, and tour the Maker Space at the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. Learn about innovative uses of 3D printing to make prosthetics, dental implants and more, as you also gain hands-on experience with the technology.

Register for July 21-26

This summer will mark fifty years since Neil Armstrong took his famous first steps onto another world. We’ll be celebrating that accomplishment with a whole week of hands-on experiences related to rockets, robots and all the careers involved in space flight and exploration. You’ll have a chance to meet with experts from the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology and aerospace companies in the region as you learn about a wide range of aerospace careers. Gain hands-on experience building some of the cool technology that helps humans explore the moon, Mars and beyond. Projects will include designing, building and launching a model rocket and designing your own space habitat that can survive being pressurized to allow humans to live on Mars.

Register for July 21-26

Computer code runs the world and computer programming jobs are ranked as the top jobs in almost every industry. In this track, you’ll learn about the different career paths available to computer programmers as we explore how programmers use computer and tech skills to solve problems and improve people’s lives. Learn the core concepts of programming languages: variables, constants, looping and conditional statements. Discover basic and advanced techniques for creating code for computers, iPhone®, iPad®, Android™, robots, video games and more. Learn how to program using your very own minicomputer, Raspberry Pi. You’ll acquire the programming basics needed to bridge to other programming languages through the creation of original projects.

Register for July 21-26

Campers will work with faculty and students from the NIU Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences and the Department of Geographic and Atmospheric Sciences to learn about the latest research on earthquakes, glaciers, climate change, meteorology and more. Meet earth science professionals such as environmental geologists, who work with the energy sector to ensure fossil fuels are harvested and used in the most responsible way possible, and meteorologists, who study short- and long-term weather and climate patterns and make predictions and recommendations.

Register for June 23-28

From designing roads and buildings to cell phones and self-driving cars, engineers are solving problems and creating the future every day. In this track, you’ll complete a series of hands-on engineering projects as you learn about the different types of careers available to engineers. We’ll also meet with NIU Engineering faculty and students, as well as tour our engineering and tech labs, including our clean room.

Register for June 16-21 - sold out!

Register for June 23-28

Register for July 28-Aug 2

In this track, you’ll investigate many of the ways in which scientists are helping people live healthier lives. We’ll meet with pharmacologists, biomedical engineers, epidemiologists and other types of health professionals, and you’ll get a chance to tour their labs and perform hands-on experiments. Highlights include a guided tour of the NIU Anatomy Lab, where you’ll see the cadavers NIU students dissect in their human anatomy studies. You’ll also have a chance to dissect a cow heart and practice your suturing skills by stitching it back together.

Register for June 16-21

Register for June 23-28 - sold out!

Register for July 28-Aug 2 - sold out!

Explore the world of career possibilities available in the expanding field of physics. Get hands-on experience in advanced physics* and interdisciplinary experiments. Campers will meet with NIU researchers, video chat with researchers across the country and get a behind-the-scenes tour of Fermi Lab, America’s foremost particle physics and accelerator laboratory, right here in northern Illinois. Whether developing batteries for next gen technology, investigating and creating new materials for better microchips, or sending particles a few states away through the Earth to understand our universe, NIU physicists are in the mix. Campers will also develop important skills in electronics.

*Although high school physics is a plus for this camp, it is not a prerequisite. Campers with a good grasp of physical science and algebra will be prepared to handle the experiments.

Register for June 16-21

Would you like to build your own projects using power tools, 3D printers, soldering irons and more? Would you like to explore technology design careers and learn about the process of prototyping and bringing a product to market? This session will introduce campers to a range of tools and processes to help their creativity flourish. Speaking of creativity, as you learn to use tools safely and select the right tool for the job, you’ll get to stretch your skills and ingenuity by devloping a project of your own design. The possibilities are endless!

Register for July 28 - Aug 2

In partnership with NIU’s Digital Convergence Lab. Are you interested in video games, animation, or 3D virtual worlds? Do you know that designing games is a team effort involving several types of artists, writers, and programmers, as well as the game designer? Sign up for the Video Game Design and Development track to try your hand at game design and learn about the various careers available. Join us to use professional software to design and develop a playable video game. Participants will explore popular video games, learn the essentials of game design, develop a game story, create game characters, invent game goals and rules, storyboard game scenarios, design a game interface and create sound effects to realize their games. No prior experience is needed, but those who have participated in our Exploring STEM through Video Game Design Camp will be able to use the week to advance their skills.

Register for June 16-21

Register for June 23-28

Register for July 28-Aug 2