STEM with Purpose

2016 International Summer Residential Program for High School Students


STEM with Purpose camp registration is LIVE! Click here to register.

NIU STEM is pleased to be working with American Quality Leadership and Education Management (AQLEM) to offer students from several nations, including the United States, this residential summer camp in STEM and Global Leadership.

Each week students from around the world will come together to investigate STEM with the purpose of improving their STEM abilities and problem solving skills while learning how to work together to improve our world. Each week all campers will participate in workshops on social entrepreneurship, global leadership, world music, and community gardening. Participants can gain insight into conducting business internationally and working with people from different cultures

Students are encouraged to sign up for two or more weeks as exciting activities are planned in the Chicagoland area each weekend.


Students can choose one track for each week that they register to attend, which may include all four weeks. All students will investigate global communications, leadership, and entrepreneurship each week.

Automation and Robotics Explore the exciting world of robotics and automation while learning how to use Arduino microprocessors and LEGO Robotics. Students will gain experience in engineering by building and programming both LEGO Robotics and Arduino devices.Each camper will receive her own Arduino kit to work with for the week and take home for further investigation. Time spent in NIU's Department of Technology's Automation Laboratory will build understanding of how automated technology works in the world around us.

Survival: Food, Water, and STEM Acidification of the oceans and changing climates will increasingly strain the capacity of global food production. Clean water for drinking and bathing is a luxury in many areas of the world. Participants in this session will investigate the role of STEM in ensuring clean water and plentiful food for our future. They will test several local water sources and investigate several methods currently used to purify water in areas without sophisticated water purification facilities. Students will learn from climate and agricultural experts and put their knowledge to work with students at a school in Tanzania to create a plan for the sustainability of their school garden,  They will watch the documentary Think Globally, Eat Locally and discuss with the producers of the film what that means in various parts of the world.

Bioengineering and Medical Technology Amazing advances have been made in the field of medical technology that allow people to live longer, healthier lives. In this track, participants will explore technologies and advances that have made this possible and consider how the future of medicine may look. Students will explore the different types of technology used in the medical fields and will gain firsthand experience using equipment in the NIU Medical Laboratory Sciences' Student Lab. Students will also work in NIU's Bioengineering Lab to understand how biometric sensors work and how they are being used to improve patients' lives.

Electronics and 3-D Printing and Design Electronic devices have become an important part of today's lifestyles. In this track, students will focus on the hardware as they create a variety of electronic projects. Students will learn how the components of these devises work separately and how different types of electronic components work together to create technologies and devices that people now depend on in their daily lives. Each student will gain experience soldering electronic components as they create their own working electronic projects to bring home. Students will also use 3-D CAD software and a 3-D printer to fabricate the needed plastic components for their projects.

Weekly Workshops

Each week of camp, workshops in a variety of areas will be offered to students.

Social Entrepreneurship Faculty and staff from NIU's Social Entrepreneurship program in the College of Business will run workshops each week. Students will have the opportunity to speak with professionals who have developed a business that improves the lives of others while building a company for themselves.

Global Leadership Faculty and staff engaged in global projects will run workshops each week to help students develop the skills needed to work together in a positive and productive manner to solve global problems.

World Music NIU School of Music faculty and staff will run workshops each week to provide students with an opportunity to experience music from around the world and try their hand at music making.

Community Gardening DeKalb County Community Gardens will facilitate a workshop that introduces students to the irrigation system constructed in 2014 by one of the Engineering Careers Camps. Students will then engage in their own community service project for the Community Gardens. 


Each week-long session incluces the following weekend filled with fun and educational trips. Each weekend begins with a Friday evening social event such as a campfire and contines wih trips into Chicago on both Saturday and Sunday to visit museums and downtown sights. The choice of museums varies by weekend so that participants staying for more than one weekend have the opportunity to visit a variety of locales. Opportunities to tour, learn, and explore include visits to one or more of the following iconic Chicago sites each weekend:

A day trip to the capital of Wisconsin, Madison, will be offered highlighting the Dane County Farmer’s Market-a regional favorite circling the capitol building square with all local produce and craftsmen.

Students will have the opportunity to sample local food favorites on these trips such as Chicago deep dish pizza, Italian beef and giardiniera, Eli’s cheesecake, hot dogs, and more!

Participants registered for two or more weeks will enjoy a trip with their new friends to Six Flags: Great America amusement park on their final Saturday.

Housing and Dining

Students will reside on secure, single-gender floors in one of NIU's residence halls. Each floor is only accessible by those who live on the floor; the elevator is operated with their room access card. 

Each student will share a room with no more than one other student. The camp application includes an option to list a roommate preference. Both families must indicate a preference for it to be honored.

Counselors in a ratio of one counselor per 10 students will reside on the same floors. 

Three meals per day will be served in the dining halls on camps with a few meals catered each week. Students will be able to choose from several entrees and side dishes at each meal, including vegetarian dishes. Vending machines are available for snacks. Rooms in the residence halls are equipped with a small refrigerator and microwave.

Students who are registered for two or more sessions must register for the weekend options between the weeks unless we receive signed authorization for a family member residing in the United States to pick up the student for the weekend. 


Students arrive at NIU on the Sunday of their first camp week. Students begin their week with an orientation and team building session Sunday evening. If arrival time and weather permits, students will also take a walking tour of campus.

A typical weekday schedule - 

7:30 a.m.

8:00 a.m.

9:00 - 10:15 a.m.

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.

10:30 - 11:45 a.m.

11:45 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.  

1:15 - 2:30 p.m.

2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

5:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

9:30 - 10:00 p.m.

10:30 p.m.

Last Call to Rise


First Morning Session


Second Morning Session

Lunch and Informal Activities

First Afternoon Session

Second Afternoon Session

Afternoon Break

Dinner and Homework Time

Evening Activities

Quiet Time in the Residence Hall

Lights Out & Room Check

Evening activities include recreational and educational activities connected to the camp, such as making liquid nitrogen ice cream, astronomy sessions, discussions with entrepreneurial experts, movie nights, leadership discussions, bowling on campus, and more. Students will have access to wifi to allow for communications with family.


During July and August the weather in DeKalb, Illinois can be quite variable. We could have several pleasant days with sunny skies and high temperatures ranging from 24 to 29 degrees Celsius. There is the possibility of humid days over 35 degrees Celsius. Rain is likely on some days during the four weeks, and include the possibility of a thunderstorm. Students will walk in the rain unless there is a threat of lightning, or the rain is extremely heavy. Evenings can be mild with temperatures around 22 degrees Celsius or more humid with higher temperatures.


This year we are piloting a new online system to collect camper information. We hope this will help streamline the registration process for everyone. The registration link below is for your initial camp payment. In early March, after you have made your deposit, you will receive an email with instructions for completing the required forms and how to submit them to our new system.


STEM with Purpose Camp Pricing 2016