ACC Inspires Middle School Girls to Future Careers at Otter Tank Girls-Only Camp

Above, middle school girls built miniature irrigation systems using PVC welding during ACC’s Otter Tank Girls-Only Camp.

About 20 middle school girls spent the week of July 18-22 on the Alamance Community College campus learning about career opportunities in hands-on activities during the first annual Otter Tank Girls-Only Camp. Haw the Otter is the College’s mascot.

Inspired by the Shark Tank TV program, ACC’s Otter Tank camp introduced the young women to skilled trades and entrepreneurship. Campers got hands-on exposure in animal care, culinary arts, welding, engineering, horticulture, and graphic design.

The campers developed a product in groups using an imaginary budget. Their products were judged by a team of ‘otters’ at the end of the week.

In Advertising and Graphic Design, for example, Department Head Erik Perel opened the College’s maker space to the campers and showed them the equipment and supplies available.

“The students used our button maker to create buttons for their product campaigns, and I showed them how to use Adobe Illustrator to make logos for their teams,” said Perel. “The girls utilized the makerspace as a design lab to create their inventions.”

Another project allowed the campers to build miniature irrigation systems using PVC welding pipe.

The campers focused on manufacturing careers such as Mechatronics, Welding, and Industrial Systems during a discussion facilitated by RegO (ECI) employee Selina Latour.

RegO in Whitsett manufactures valves and flow controls for safe, cost-effective production, storage, and transport of industrial gases, cryogenic liquids, and alternative fuels.

Latour told the girls about what parent company ECI (Engineered Controls International) offers. She explained the type of jobs available at the RegO Whitsett plant, and who should consider a career in manufacturing.

“We played a game, did some critical thinking, and worked through all the engineering needed for building out an imaginary factory,” commented Latour.