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Chip Camp Comes to NSU

Sponsored by the Micron Foundation, the Micron Technology Chip Camp at Norfolk State University from July 19 through July 21, 2022, was a free day camp filled with hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) activities related to semiconductor manufacturing and engineering jobs. It’s the first Chip Camp to take place at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

The camp lasted three days with activities led by Micron engineers, scientists, and other professionals. Norfolk State University students served as hosts and mentors. Attendees were able to learn and experience what engineers and scientists do every day in a semiconductor company.

Chip Camp activities included:Campers receive instruction from camp director Cathy Ammirati.

  • Competitive challenges
  • Problem-solving
  • Emerging technologies
  • Engineering simulations
  • Electronics
  • Robotics
  • Chemistry
  • Inventions
  • Physics

Chip Camp was created in 2001 by Micron Technology to “Spark a Passion” for science and engineering in a fun, hands-on environment. Chip Camp differs from other STEM camps primarily in that activities relate to the semiconductor industry and are facilitated by Micron employee “team members” allowing these professionals to share information about their careers with the students. The focus of the camp is STEM exploration, innovation, and discovery and the role engineers play in STEM fields. The target age is exiting seventh and eighth grade students as research indicates it is during these middle school years that students make decisions about pursuing challenging science and math curricula.

Campers prepare for a rocket launch.Over the three days of camp, the camp ran from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch and snacks provided. The schedule for Chip Camp included time for open exploration, science demonstrations, camper photos, lunchtime, and multiple activity sessions.

During the camp experience, students were placed in teams of four or five with names like Angstrom, Flash, DRAM, etc. These names are part of the vocabulary of semiconductors that students learn during camp. Over the years, some of the most popular activities have been learning about Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) and nanotechnology, programming a Lego© Mindstorms robot, as well as building and launching rockets.

Not only is Chip Camp intended to get students excited and curious about STEM, but it also includes activities designed to lay the conceptual base for the development of the integrated circuit, as well as to introduce students to the electrical components in a memory device. Students also learn about the various uses for Micron memory products and the career opportunities available in the semiconductor industry.

Campers in the Micron-NSU Nanofabrication CleanroomThe chip camp at Norfolk State, unlike other locations, included an inside tour of the Micron-NSU Nanofabrication Cleanroom, a world-class facility that provides unique processing capabilities. Campers had to suit up head-to-toe for the tour as they learned about cutting-edge microelectronics. Read more about the Micron-NSU Nanofabrication Cleanroom at

Norfolk State University students served as camp hosts and helped mentor the middle-schoolers on the importance of technology education and the significance of being leaders in the world of semiconductor engineering and nanotechnology.

The Micron Technology Chip Camp served as an excellent example of why Norfolk State says, “We see the future in you!” This year’s middle school campers certainly have a leg up on the competition after three days of hands-on, experiential learning.

Tuesday's activities included a science show, a straw tower icebreaker, the wafer fabrication process, electrostatic discharge, and logic gates.

Wednesday's activities included circuits, building a solid state drive, coding with Raspberry Pi and SCRATCH, and engineering design.

Thursday's activities included rockets, the cleanroom tour, nitrogen ice cream, artificial intelligence, and a closing celebration.