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Aspiring engineer heads to Cal Poly camp

For The Madera Tribune

Incoming Matilda Torres freshman Yasmeen Elabdeny stands with her “lavender” group while attending the E.P.I.C. Camp at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo earlier this month.


While some students were enjoying their summer break and just getting ready for their next year of school, Sherman Thomas STEM graduate Yasmeen Elabdeny was getting tools for her future occupation.

Elabdeny was recently promoted from the STEM program and will enter her freshman year at Matilda Torres High School.

Interested in engineering, Elabdeny applied and was accepted to attend the Engineering Possibilities in College (E.P.I.C.) Camp at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to learn about engineering.

“It’s like a science camp,” she said. “I want to be an agricultural or computer engineer.”

Her grandfather got her interested in agricultural engineering. Meanwhile the Sherman Thomas STEM program got her interested in computer engineering.

“My grandpa owned a farm a while ago,” she said. “He had lots of cows and fruits and stuff. I was always interested in it and wanted to get into ag. Sherman Thomas helped me in the path. I was always interested in agriculture. When I got into STEM, it really interested me into computer engineering. I got into robotics and other stuff.”

Elabdeny initially applied for the camp and a scholarship to attend the camp. She was one of 600 students selected for the camp out of 4,000 applicants.

“My school used to send out emails about this camp when my sister went to Sherman Thomas,” Elabdeny said. “My mom remembered it. There was a website to get a scholarship. We could have paid for the camp. I applied for the scholarship and a couple of days later, they told me I was accepted and received a scholarship.”

Although Cal Poly is her No. 2 school she wants to go to, it was an opportunity for Elabdeny she couldn’t let go. Stanford is her first choice and she is going to try to go to a camp there next year.

“I thought it was incredible to be able to go to Cal Poly,” she said. “I had never heard about the camp before. When my mom told me about it, I told her I wanted to go. It sounded like a great and fun experience, and it was.”

At the camp, students were separated into different colored groups. Her color was lavender. Before the camp she answered a form that showed the camp what areas would be of interest to her.

“The ones I got was to make a mini surfboard and fire,” she said. “Every day, we had our engineering class. The mini surfboards, we made out of epoxy and foam. They showed us how to make it. We cut it out, sanded it down and vacuumed sealed it. We even got to spray paint it.”

The main project for her group was to build a motor car out of the materials they received. Her group placed second, overall.

“We didn’t have a lot of stuff to make a motor car,” Elabdeny said. “We got second place even though our motor didn’t fully work.”

For her fire activity, she had to protect her house from fire.

“We had boxes of wood for our fire class,” she said. “We had to buy materials with fake money for the house to protect it from fire. Our team used aluminum foil and tape. Our whole house was covered in aluminum because we figured out it would stop the fire, and it did.”

Over the four-day camp, she learned a lot of different engineering fundamentals. She spent the four days on the Cal Poly campus and was treated like a college student.

“We got roommates. It was like a real college experience. It was really cool,” she said. “I had a really good experience.”

Elabdeny is excited about going to high school and is looking forward to joining the World Champion robotics team and wants to do some computer programming.

“I super excited for high school. I’m counting down the days.” She said.

Elabdeny would like to design good computers and be able to sell them cheap.

“At STEM, we got to take apart a computer, looking at all the chips and stuff,” she said. “I thought that was really cool. When I grow up, I want to design my own computer and sell it. I want to sell it for less money than other computers because there’s no computers that are good and cheap. That’s the kind I want to make.”

By going to the E.P.I.C. camp, it just reinforced the idea of becoming an engineer.

“It really made me become an engineer even more. I’m excited to start my future career on it, now,” she said.


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