Career Explorations

STEM Careers Camp gives high school students an opportunity to explore career options in several areas. NIU faculty and staff in several colleges and Career Services as well as local professionals will staff specialized tracks in Coding, Engineering, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Hacking, and Video Game Design. Participants will apply to the track of their 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! STEM Careers campers will experience dorm life by living in one of the newly renovated Gilbert Hall and in the dorm and the Blackhawk Cafeteria in the Holmes Student Center. Campers will have the opportunity to interact with professionals and students in many STEM fields throughout the day, including informally at meals. Evening activity choices include visits to Davis Hall Observatory, video game night, movie night, and outdoor recreational activities.

Campers Entering Grades 10-12

Session 1: June 17-22, 2018. Campers will choose one of the following tracks

  • Engineering
  • Health Sciences - Sold Out.
  • Physical Sciences
  • Social Hacking


Session 2: June 24-29, 2018. Campers will choose one of the following tracks

  • 3D Design and Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Video Game Design - Sold Out.


Session 3: July 22-27, 2018. Campers will choose one of the following tracks


Session 4: July 29-August 3, 2018. Campers will choose one of the following tracks


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.

Health Careers

You may know what it takes to become a doctor or a nurse, but are you aware of the dozens of other professions in health care?  Health care is projected to be one of the fastest growing industries over the next decade.  What are health science careers and what do you need to do to be ready to pursue them in college?

Join us as we investigate what it takes to become physical therapists, clinical lab technicians, cancer researchers, audiologists, pharmacologists, biomedical engineers, doctors, nurses, and many other critical careers.  Along the way you will interact with the simulated patients in the nursing lab, peer at organisms through the microscopes in the clinical laboratory, and meet students and faculty in health-related STEM disciplines. Faculty from the colleges of Health and Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Education are participating in this track.

Engineering Careers

Engineers are involved in designing virtually everything we use today from our cars, computers, and cell phones to bridges, skyscrapers, and video games.  Do you know which engineers are involved in each?  What does an engineer do?  How does an engineer’s day differ from a scientist’s day? 

Join us as we investigate the scores of engineering and related careers.  Throughout the week you will learn “lean manufacturing” techniques and compete to establish the most efficient assembly line, learn to solder and then complete your own electronic device to take home, participate in design and construction challenges, and visit our engineering labs.

Video Game Design Careers

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 needed, but those who have participated in our Game Design Day Camp will be able to use the week to advance their skills. Read NIU video game camp descriptions or for more information, call 317-762-8727 or email

Social Hacking Careers

Computer code runs the world and computer programming jobs are ranked as the top jobs in almost every industry. Learn the core concepts of programming languages: variables and 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. Acquire the programming basics needed to bridge to other programming languages through the creation of original projects.

Physical Science Careers

From holograms and soldering to cinnamon flavoring, we cover a lot of ground in our Physical Sciences Career camp! Campers will experiment to develop a high powered battery and investigate the intersection of life and physical science. They will also explore the world of scents and flavorings, synthesizing various esters in the lab to experience flavoring chemistry. Our physical sciences camp would never be complete without a behind-the-scenes tour of Fermi Lab. This summer, our aspiring chemists and physicists' instructor will be Kate Powers, NIU alumna, an awesome educator and experienced research chemist with a master's degree in inorganic synthetic chemistry from the University of Alberta.

3D Design and Manufacturing Careers

Campers will learn manufacturing techniques and compete to establish the most efficient assembly line, participate in design and construction challenges, visit NIU's engineering and tech labs, learn to solder and then create and complete an electronic device to take home.

Earth and Space Science Careers

From the ground beneath our feet to the stars above our heads, campers will investigate what the universe is made of and learn how scientists study it. Campers will work with faculty and students from NIU’s departments of Geology and Environmental Sciences, carrying out experiments on terra firma and in the NIU observatory.