Summer Camps Introduce High School Students to Construction Management

2021 Construction Management Summer Academy for Young Women

McWhorter School of Building Science faculty hosted two camps for high school students this past summer through Auburn Youth Programs, an initiative of Auburn’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education.

In early June, Assistant Professor Lauren Redden led the Construction Management Summer Academy for Young Women, and in late June Field Lab Manager and Senior Lecturer Mike Hosey led the Building Construction Camp, and over half a dozen of their colleagues helped to teach.

The Construction Management Summer Academy for Young Women is a camp for rising 11th and 12th graders who are considering a career in construction management. This is a scholarship camp funded by generous industry sponsors, which means there is no fee for the young women who come to Auburn for the opportunity to learn about the exciting and diverse career opportunities available in the field. 

They live on campus for five days, experiencing life as a college student, and spend the week learning the basics of the industry from Auburn faculty. Associate Professor Wes Collins teaches bidding, estimating and plan reading; Assistant Professor Alan Bugg teaches safety; Professor Salman Azhar teaches virtual design; Hosey teaches construction methods; and Assistant Professors Jeff Kim and Eric Wetzel host an innovative technologies expo. Redden teaches various sessions, such as career mapping in the built environment, equipment usage, materials and methods. The students get to explore and experiment with hands-on construction activities and take field trips to active, large-scale commercial construction sites. 

Campers also have opportunities to engage with talented professionals in the field, attending an equipment rodeo at Thompson Tractor and learning how to wire a lamp with Allen Conradi of Thalamus Electric. Redden, who designed and directed the camp in both 2019 and 2021, says that the generous donors who fund the camp believe in the need to educate more young women about construction management. 

“We have industry that want to pour knowledge into the future of construction,” she stated. “The purpose of the camp is for the students to learn about the exciting and diverse career opportunities available in construction management, experience the teaching methods from our faculty and feel like they are experiencing our program.” 

The Building Construction Camp is also a week-long residential program for rising 11th and 12th graders and is open to both young men and women. Hosey has been teaching this camp since 2008. He begins each year by deciding on a service-learning project for the students to complete, and this year’s campers were assigned to build an 8×10 foot shed for a local Habitat for Humanity home in need of outdoor storage space. After Hosey taught the students about building methods and safety procedures, other BSCI faculty members stepped in to help. Redden taught estimating; Professor Paul Holley taught scheduling; Kim taught 3D Modeling; and Program Chair Mark Taylor taught contracting business. Hosey says the camp is a great chance to learn what a career in construction management will look like. “Our goal is to show the students the skills needed for a career in the construction industry to see if this career might interest them. We let them actually develop a proposal stating how much the project will cost, how long it will take to build and how quality workmanship will be assured for the client.”