Summer camp connects kids from Alberta and China in biomedical adventures

(Edmonton) An element of unexpected discovery can crop up at the DiscoverE engineering, science and technology camps hosted by the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Engineering. This month, for example, youngsters in a biomedical design camp worked alongside students visiting from Hong Kong.

The Chinese students were enrolled in the week-long Biomedical Design camp as part of a two-week study tour to Canada.

Working together, a camper from Tofield, Alberta, and a camper from Hong Kong designed and created a prosthetic hand using string, straws, cardboard, paper and a lot of masking tape. In the process, they learned about human anatomy, how bones work and how engineers can help solve medical challenges.

And, just as important, they made friends with someone from another country.

Instructors Stéphane Magnan and Ashley Stoltz, who are studying biomedical mechanical engineering and microbiology respectively, are able to deliver a blend of medical knowledge and engineering principles. Other projects in the week-long camp included making paper models of lungs and skulls, complete with ping-pong-ball eyes and spines.

“This is a really great experience—it has taught me quite a few new things,” said Joshua, a 13-year-old camper from Tofield. His work partner, 14-year-old Maurice, part of the Hong Kong study group, said the DiscoverE camp presented him with new knowledge and a setting where he could practise his English skills.

“I like physics and biology and chemistry, but I wouldn’t be learning some of these things in Hong Kong,” he said, explaining that he was getting a leg up on his classmates back home.

“It’s fairly in-depth biology,” said Stoltz. “Some of this stuff I didn’t learn about until my first year of college.”

Find out more about DiscoverE camps