Over their three years in the Accelerate program, students are required to attend one Saturday Experience annually. Transportation to and from Saturday Experiences is the responsibility of each student and his or her parents, although Accelerate can assist in arranging carpools or buses for long-distance trips. If students choose and space allows, they are encouraged to attend more than one Saturday Experience each year.
The aim of Saturday Experiences is to offer Accelerate students opportunities to see real-world engineering processes and practices and to expose them to various engineering career possibilities. Experiences always occur on Saturdays and can take anywhere from half a day to a full day. At the beginning of the academic year, students are presented with the schedule of Saturday Experiences. After they rank their preferences, they are assigned an Experience on a first-come, first-served basis.
In previous years, Saturday Experiences have included the following trips and workshops:
- Day trip to the H.B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station (Hartsville, SC)
- Day trip to Cummins Turbo Technologies (Ladson, SC)
- Day trip to Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research (Greenville, SC)
- Workshop on Patent Procedures and Preparation, sponsored by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Hartsville, SC)
- Day trip to Francis Marion’s Industrial Engineering Department (Florence, SC)
- Day trip to the Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station (Huntersville, NC)
In the summer preceding each of their years in the Accelerate or TEAMUP programs, students are required to attend a week-long Summer Experience. The aim of Summer Experiences is to bring together all students from across the state, to introduce them to engineering challenges and fields of study, and to develop their critical-thinking skills and teamwork abilities.
At the end of each Summer Experience, students provide presentations related to the work they have completed over the preceding week. These presentations are open to the public and are attended by mentors, faculty, and administrators associated with the Summer Experiences.