SHIP offers university introduction

April 28, 2005, vol. 33, no. 1
By Terry Lavender

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“What could be more interesting than building a LEGO robot?” asks Daryl Van Humbeck, reflecting on his experience last year in the SFU Surrey high school integration program (SHIP).

Now a student in the first-year TechOne program at SFU Surrey, Daryl was one of about 30 Grade 11 and 12 students who took part in the program last summer. “It was a gentle introduction to university-type schedules and deadlines,” he says.

SFU Surrey will be offering SHIP again this summer, in partnership with the Surrey school district. The two-week program starts July 6 at the Surrey campus and is open to high-achieving students from the Lower Mainland.

SHIP aims to introduce high school students to arts and technology, collaborative learning and the expectations that come with university life, says program coordinator Chantal Gibson. “It acts as a bridge between Grade 12 and first year. It aims to make the transition easier,” she says.

During the 11-day program, students concentrate on interactive arts or information technology, working in teams on projects. The interactive arts students use digital photography, and animation skills to create a Viral-Net - a virtual body that reflects the cultural diversity and artistic interests of the team. The information technology students build and program smart robots.  At the end of the program, the teams test their designs on the SHIP obstacle course in a robotic competition that involves climbing ramps and maneuvering around obstacles. Students in both groups also take a teamwork and communication course, to help them develop the collaborative learning skills needed to successfully complete the program, Gibson says.

For more information, visit the SHIP website at

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