Preparing for summer camp: Notre Dame gets visit from noted university aerospace professor

Dr. Daniel P. Schrage, from Georgia Tech, is working with Notre Dame in developing a special computer design camp that will debut at the school during the summer.

Notre Dame will be offering a unique summer academic camp this year that revolves around computer-aided design and technology. As part of the preparation for the camp, NDPMA upper-school computer science teacher Katrina Palushaj has been working with a number of CAD software companies as well as Georgia Institute of Technology's professor of aerospace engineering and rotorcraft design professor Dr. Daniel P. Schrage, who also directs the Center of Excellence in Rotorcraft Technology (CERT).

Palushaj said the new Notre Dame camp will be called the CDBO STEM summer camp, subtitled "Co-Create, Design, Build and Operate."

With its hands-on STEM curriculum the camp will teach key principles in a simplified way. The CDBO approach is based on a team project, which requires students to conceive, model, build and test components of moderately complex electromechanical system, for example, a LEGO Mindstorms robot, LEGO wind-turbine or remote-controlled helicopter. The program introduces students to several concepts and skills essential in the making of an engineer today, including systems thinking; design for manufacturing; management and planning; computer-aided design; computer-aided manufacturing using 3D printers; computer programming; internet-based mass collaboration and crowd sourcing; and leadership, teamwork and communication skills.

"It all started back in 2012 when I was a mentor for the U-D Mercy/Georgia Tech summer CATIA V6 camp, which ran for five years at UDM and was sponsored by many local companies," said Palushaj, who earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Wayne State University. "I met Dr. Schrage back in 2012 and became a Georgia Tech Mentor to assist in UDM's annual camp where I worked with him and his graduate students, mentoring the camp here at UDM in Michigan and in Georgia."

Since then, according to Palushaj, Schrage has kept in contact with her through other camps, conferences and seminars. 

"Also, Roy Smolky, who was our Notre Dame liaison for the Dassault CATIA software we use in our CAD classes, retired four years ago and handed over his position to Peter Trogos, who is the aerospace ambassador of Georgia Tech Institute and an employee of Beta CAE, which has world headquarters in Lucerne, Switzerland," Palushaj said. 

Trogos brought Dr. Schrage to NDP on Tuesday and now is the person who helps NDPMA with the software along with support of Dassault in Paris, France.

Palushaj said the visit was not connected through Dassault, even though she uses their product CATIA V6 almost exclusively. She said Trogos wanted to bring Dr. Schrage into NDP because he'd heard so much about the school and the computer lab from which Palushaj will be conducting her CDBO camp. 

"Trogos and Schrage wanted to speak to our NDP Advanced CAD students and talk about aerospace engineering and how important the field of engineering is as well as the growing demand for aerospace engineers," Palushaj said. "With the work of people like Peter Trogos and Dr. Schrage, we are hoping to make this new camp a success and to open even bigger opportunities for our students."

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at