Invention Bootcamp

Anyone can become an inventor when given the right tools. We aim to give more students these tools early in their education. Invention Bootcamp is a free four-week, intensive educational experience for high school students from historically underserved and underrepresented populations that is led by PSU faculty, Dr. Gerald Recktenwald, and undergraduate engineering students.

Invention Bootcamp recognizes that students of color, women, low-income, and first-generation college students are historically underrepresented in STEM undergraduate programs.  Invention Bootcamp is committed to reversing this trend and strongly encourages high school students from the above historically underserved and underrepresented backgrounds in STEM to apply.  No prior experience is required in order to apply or participate.

You will learn basic skills to develop a prototype by completing class-wide projects and then apply those skills in creating your own invention! At the end of Invention Bootcamp, you will present your invention to the public in our grand finale.

Program Highlights

  • Create relationships with college students and program mentors
  • Training in engineering software, computer programming, microcontrollers, and electrical circuits
  • Training in common engineering tools
  • Design and fabricate own invention
  • Weekly guest speakers

2021 Camp Details

  • The Invention Bootcamp team has been closely monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 and recommended best practices surrounding the health and safety of camp participants
  • Out of an abundance of caution, we are planning for a 100% virtual camp in summer 2021

Important Dates

  • Applications for the 2021 camp have now closed. Click here to complete an Interest Form for the 2022 camp (we will remind you to apply in the fall).
  • Personal Interviews: Late March through May
  • Notification of Acceptance: No later than May 7
  • The camp will run for 4 weeks from June 28 to July 23, 2021. The camp will be closed on Monday, July 5th in observance of the holiday.
  • A camp week runs Monday-Friday, typically from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm (max)

Program Eligibility

  • No prior experience in STEM is necessary
  • Students must currently be enrolled in 9-12th grade to be eligible to apply
  • Must be an Oregon resident to be eligible to participate
  • We encourage students of all backgrounds to apply

Application Details

  • 2021 Applications are now closed. If you'd like to stay informed when the applications for next year's camp open, please fill out an Interest Form.
  • Applications were assessed based on a student's motivation, interest, and commitment
  • Candidates who make it past the first round of applications will participate in an interview with Invention Bootcamp staff

Not Sure if Invention Bootcamp is right for you?

Find out what it's like! We asked 2019 Invention Bootcamp students what it was like going through the program. Check out the video to learn more about their experience!


Since 2015, Invention Bootcamp at Portland State University has been funded with the generous support of The Lemelson Foundation, which uses the power of invention to improve lives by inspiring and enabling the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth, as well as social and economic progress in the state of Oregon and beyond! 

Our co-sponsor, Pacific Power Foundation, has also generously funded kits and project supplies for the 2020 and 2021 virtual-Invention Bootcamp.