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Middle school students gain knowledge of the automotive industry at Nitro-X Camp

two students working together on stickers to detail the body of a car(06/16/2023) The Nitro-X Camp for middle school students provides the opportunity to learn more about the automotive industry and for students to get their hands dirty. The camp ran from June 12-15 at Anoka Technical College and the Anoka-Hennepin Secondary Technical Education Program (STEP) locations.

Led by Theron Busse, an automotive teacher at STEP, the camp taught seventh and eighth grade students how to tune and race remote control electric trucks; modify and tune suspension systems, tires and wheels; and disassemble and reassemble engines.

“What we are trying to do is take these middle school students and teach them about the great opportunities they have in transportation,” Busse said. “We are starting to see the students we taught at this camp 6-7 years ago coming through the high school programs. We had a student this year that will be moving on to become a mechanical engineer.”

The students painted and customized their own remote control (RC) car bodies and then showcased their new knowledge and skills on a custom race track that was constructed by one of the teachers of the camp. View photos from the camp.

“I thought the hobby grade style of RC cars were interesting because all the parts are replaceable and not a lot of people know about them,” said Ben Duneman, a seventh grade student. “It’s cool because they are fast.”

Working with an electric RC vehicle, the students learned about electric vehicle (EV) technology and the future of the industry. The students attended two field trips to local businesses where they got VIP treatment to gain exposure to the variety of transportation careers and got to see some of the EVs currently on the market.

“I’ve grown up around cars and I thought I would want to know more about it,” said Mason Hagan, a seventh grade student. “It’s cool seeing the big shop, learning all day and going to different places.”