Students at Truax Airfield: photo courtesy COE Communications
Students at Truax Airfield: photo courtesy COE Communications

Camp Badger Exploring Engineering®

August 2017

Dear Camp Badger Students, Parents, Teachers, Instructors, Camp Staff, Contributors, Volunteers, and UW-Madison Colleagues:

As director of the Camp Badger Exploring Engineering® program, I want to let you know that 2017 is the last year UW-Madison will be hosting Camp Badger.

After 38 years with the University of Wisconsin, I am retiring this summer. My principle responsibility has been to provide continuing education opportunities for working engineers and other technical professionals and, since 1995, I have been the chair of the Department of Engineering Professional Development (EPD).

In summer 1998, I started Camp Badger with the intention of providing young Wisconsin students the opportunity to learn about engineering and the university. Little did I expect that camp would endure for these many years, and have more than 3,700 participants! With my retirement, Camp Badger is ending.

Camp Badger brought together an energetic team that was committed to help students learn about engineering while having fun.

I appreciate that Wisconsin teachers helped to make this possible by alerting students and parents about camp and writing recommendation letters for promising students. Through the teachers’ efforts, we have had the opportunity to meet and learn with many of the most talented students in Wisconsin.

I want to applaud the work of the teachers, camp counselors, and many other UW-Madison staff who led camp each summer. I also want to recognize the hundreds of hours of volunteer time contributed by the outstanding experts who provided tours of their manufacturing facilities, construction sites, landfills, treatment plants, sports facilities, university labs and many other places.

We were able to provide need-based scholarships to many campers through support from private and corporate donors, the College of Engineering, and EPD. We—along with the students and their families—appreciated this financial support.

Many wonderful students participated in Camp Badger. With their inquisitiveness, imagination, excitement about learning, and ability to make new friends with supportive rapports, these students were the aspect of camp we all valued and cherished the most.

Going forward, UW-Madison offers many opportunities for K-12 students, including Engineering Expo, the Engineering Summer Program, the Women in Engineering Summer Program, and WCATY. You can find a complete list of UW K-12 STEM opportunities at

We have had the opportunity to meet the best students in Wisconsin.  We continually learn about the success of former campers and any stories you can share with us will be appreciated.

Thanks again for your help and your commitment to the success of Wisconsin students.

Sincerely yours,

Philip R. O’Leary
Professor and Director