Teaching & Learning

Engineering State Returns After Pandemic Hiatus

By Anessa Pennington |

High school students build rotating algae biofilm reactors, or RABRs, in the Idea Factory as part of the biological engineering challenge at E-State, which returned this year after being cancelled due to the pandemic.

This summer 2021, Utah State University’s Engineering State returned after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Engineering State, often called E-State, is four-day summer camp for high school juniors. Participants are invited to Logan campus to explore USU's engineering disciplines through hands-on workshops and activities. Most years, E-State attracts 250 participants from across this state; with the uncertainty of the pandemic, E-State 2021 was restructured into two single-day camps on June 22 and 24, accommodating 100 students total.

"Months ago, when preparation began, we still didn't know what this summer would look like with the pandemic," said Shelly Wardell, the director of the program. "Engineering State 2021 looks a bit different this year than it has in the past, but we're happy to see students back on campus exploring all the engineering disciplines USU has to offer."

During these single-day camps, students participate in four “challenges,” one for each branch of engineering offered at Utah State. For the electrical and computer engineering challenge, students try their hand at making a speaker using wire, a magnet, and a paper plate. For civil and environmental engineering, students test the structural integrity of their LEGO buildings on an earthquake-simulating shaker table.

Engineering State is one of Utah State's longest-running traditions. For 31 years, the program has given hundreds of high schoolers their first taste of engineering. Some attend E-State simply for look into what a parent or grandparent does for work. But many participants go on to study engineering – at USU or elsewhere – and pursue careers as professional engineers.


Anessa Pennington
Public Relations Specialist
College of Engineering


Shelly Wardell
College of Engineering, Engineering State

Comments and questions regarding this article may be directed to the contact person listed on this page.

Next Story in Teaching & Learning

See Also