HAMMOND | Gavit eighth-grader Charles Epps peppered college students with questions Thursday about the Baja race cars being constructed in their Purdue University Calumet mechanical engineering class.
Epps said he is very interested in engineering, but he doesn't know the specific area in which he would like to major.
"I'm very interested in taking things apart, putting things together and fixing them," he said. "I want to check out the different possibilities and the different areas of engineering."
Epps was one of 25 Hammond Gavit Middle School students who toured Purdue University Calumet on Thursday for Exploring Engineering/Engineering Technology Careers Day. Purdue Calumet classrooms and labs were open to middle school students so they could see and participate in the different activities that engineers perform.
Gavit math teacher Kathryn Midkiff said the tour was designed to introduce students to engineering as a career.
"I wanted to get rid of the stereotypes about engineering and encourage students that this is something they can do," she said. "This is something that can be in their future."
Midkiff said other middle school teachers at Gavit were using the week to expose students to a variety of different careers.
A science teacher had students perform a dissection in class. Another teacher brought in a retired NFL player to talk about fitness and sports as a business. And another teacher is taking students on a trip to the Field Museum in Chicago and conducted an archeology dig at the school.
Midkiff said teachers want to expose students to many different career options.
Middle school students also saw a presentation on the use of concrete in design and the NASA-sponsored Moonbuggy race in the Civil/Mechanical Engineering Department at Purdue Calumet.
The Moonbuggy is a lightweight, human-powered vehicle similar to the Apollo lunar rovers developed by NASA four decades ago for use during moon exploration.
Last month a team of Purdue Calumet engineering students placed third — the school's best finish ever — in the College Division of the international NASA Great Moonbuggy Race.