St. Amant High School senior Tyler Broussard experienced challenges engineers face every day during the weeklong SAME Engineering and Construction Camp in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Broussard’s experience cemented his desire to be an engineer.

Broussard, a honor student and football player, was chosen as one of 40 students nationwide to attend the camp sponsored by the Society of American Military Engineers.

“I learned that engineers are the problem solvers of the world,” Broussard said upon his return from the camp June 29.

The purpose of the camp was to allow students interested in pursuing a career in engineering to experience activities in the various fields of engineering and to network with professional engineers.

Upon arrival, campers were divided into four teams — red, white, blue and green. The teams competed in engineering and construction challenges.

Although the hands-on activities were fun and engaging, the challenges exposed the campers to invaluable skills and knowledge used in public and private sectors of engineering, Broussard said.

One of the first challenges was to use mathematical computations to proportion strong yet cost-efficient concrete at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center in Vicksburg.

Broussard and his green team developed their mixture, which was the strongest but most expensive. He continued to learn about concrete production, finishing and the responsibilities of a general contractor at Fordice Construction.

At the the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, part of Mississippi State University’s Bagley School of Engineering, campers were introduced to computer modeling with Flexsim, a 3-D simulation software that allowed campers to design roller coasters. Broussard’s team won its first challenge by designing and building effective catapults.

The competition was Broussard’s first step into robotics. He received a behind-the-scenes tour of the assembly line at the Nissan Manufacturing Plant in Canton, Mississippi.

Broussard also learned about essential engineering software systems such as AutoCAD and GIS. Broussard and his team used computer modeling techniques and GPS surveying to solve traffic and transportation problems. Campers were taught to calculate bridge elasticity and corrosion.

At the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Information Technology Laboratory, Broussard’s team won another challenge for its computer design of a bridge.

Not all of the activities were on land. The campers worked on some lessons with a Blackhawk helicopter and experienced a trip down the Mississippi River on the M/V William James.

Throughout the week, campers toured Vicksburg National Military Park, swam at a Knights of Columbus pool and bowled.

“I plan to study mechanical engineering because I like the Nissan assembly line and putting things together, but now I see all of the ways engineers solve problems, like managing transportation problems or rebuilding war-torn towns in Iraq,” Broussard said. “Engineers fix any problem.”