Thinking Outside of the Toolbox with Camp GADgET

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“The goal is not to just think outside of the box. It’s to think outside of the box, AND create a new box, and then do it again.”
- Antigone Sharris, Triton College Engineering Technology Program Coordinator

Antigone Sharris, creator of the Camp GADgET and GLoW programs, has a vision for supporting younger generations to reimagine, and recreate, in a way that enables students to become improved problem solvers, innovators, and manufacturers.

This endeavor has led to Sharris’ creation of GADgET (Girls Adventuring in Design, Engineering and Technology), an interactive, hands-on summer camp at Triton College, that allows for middle and high school-aged young women to learn and grow their skills in design, metal fabrication, robotics, and engineering. Though originating at Triton College, GADgET has since expanded to two other community colleges, including College of DuPage, and Ridgewood High School.

The program is an entrepreneurial-based curriculum—supporting individual goals and collaborative objectives. Campers aren’t confined to kits, and are encouraged to explore problem solving in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics). Sharris, however, prefers to treat the “M” in “STEM” as Manufacturing, as it is a typically unexplored area of everyday learning.

A new and exciting program this year, in addition to GADgET, is GLoW (Girls Learning to Weld). Sharris states, “We live in a society that, from a very young age, tells us, ‘Don’t touch that!’ or, ‘You’ll hurt yourself!’ GLoW is about encouraging these girls to use these awesome tools, and how to do so safely.”

Partners of Camp GADgET since 2012, ACE METAL CRAFTS COMPANY is delighted to host the girls for an afternoon annually to provide insight into manufacturing as a process, and as a profession.“Manufacturing is so often abstract,” says Sharris, “partners like ACE METAL CRAFTS COMPANY help to make the connection between the skills we are introducing and the importance of manufacturing in our everyday lives.”

ACE is committed to providing excellent role models to young women who are inspired to pursue careers in manufacturing.