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FEATURE ARTICLE
Engineers Make it Work
February 2009

E-weekThe National Engineers Week Foundation, a formal coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies, is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers among young students and by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science. Engineers Week, celebrated February 15th-21st, also raises public understanding and appreciation of engineers’ contributions to society. Founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), it is among the oldest of America’s professional outreach efforts. Co-chairs for 2009 are Intel Corporation and NSPE. Visit www.eweek.org for more information on programs including:

  • Design Squad — In Season Two, Design Squad includes a national invention contest, new resources and trainings for volunteers, and special work with after-school organizations. Engineers Week partners worked with WGBH-Boston to develop and deploy hundreds of volunteers and dozens of trainings and special events for the launch of this PBS television reality show in 2007. The show, accompanying Web site and outreach campaign targets 9-12 year olds and is part reality competition, all engineering and major fun. During each show an engineer is featured in a 60-second profile.
  • National Engineers Week Future City Competition — In 17 years, this program has established 38 regional sites across America and is being copied in Japan, India, Sweden and Egypt. Middle-school students work with teachers and volunteer engineers to build computer and three-dimensional scale models of cities of tomorrow. At regional competitions in January, the teams present their designs before a panel of engineer judges. First place regional teams win a trip to Washington for national finals during Engineers Week.
  • Cyberchase — Cyberchase is a wildly popular action-packed math adventure for young children produced by WNET-NY (PBS). Engineers Week partners receive specially-produced resource kits to "join the Cyberchase" and make the engineering connection with young children. Previous seasons and materials have focused on inventing, building, and engineering.
  • National Engineers Week Foundation Diversity Council — A formal alliance of engineering and diversity organizations dedicated to promoting and advancing diversity in engineering. The Council collaborates on projects and issues of interest that add value to the members' organizations as well as to broader communities, drawing upon the member organizations' individual interests and strengths to present a stronger and wider-reaching message on how their constituents contribute to engineering solutions. National Engineers Week Foundation facilitates communications among the Council's member organizations and among the more than 100 Engineers Week coalition partners.
  • DiscoverE — More than 45,000 engineers work with five and a half million students and teachers in elementary through secondary school each year through classroom visits and extracurricular programs, using educational materials provided by Engineers Week. DiscoverE began for Engineers Week 1990.
  • Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (February 19th, 2009) — Each year "Girl Day" allows thousands of women engineers, with support from their male counterparts, to directly mentor more than one million girls and young women in K-12 with firsthand experiences in engineering. This section of the Eweek website has been translated into Spanish.
  • Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering — The next "Global Marathon" occurs in March 2009. During a continuous 24-hour period, 48 "events" take place via live Internet chats, telephone conversations and Webcasts from points originating around the globe. A new format was introduced for the 2008 Marathon, using a follow-the-sun model with six global regions: North America, South America, China, India, South Africa, and UK/Europe. Topics range from encouraging girls and young women to consider engineering as a career, to advising on career paths for young engineers, to life/work balance, and included discussions on the diverse challenges facing women engineers in the global workplace.
  • Engineer Your Life (EYL) — EYL is the second phase of the Extraordinary Women Engineers Project, supported by a large and broad coalition. The National Engineers Week Foundation serves as the Secretariat for this spectacular project, with a message to academically prepared high school girls to "Engineer Your Life: Dream Big, Love What You Do." EYL is anchored by www.engineeryourlife.org, an online guide to engineering for high school girls, parents, teachers and engineer-volunteers. A cornerstone of this outreach is a two-year campaign with the National Association of College Admissions Counselors to reach students and their parents at high school college fairs.
  • Family Event — Discover Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., continues to break all public attendance records for the museum. Volunteers conduct interactive hands-on exhibitions. This event serves as a model for similar family programs throughout the U.S.
  • New Faces of Engineering — Young engineers who have been in the workplace five years or less and have shown outstanding abilities in projects that significantly impact public welfare or further professional development and growth are recognized for their accomplishments in major print media and local press.
  • Sightseers Guide to Engineering — This Web site celebrates engineering marvels from the subtle to the spectacular in all 50 states. The public can also join in the recognition and appreciation of the achievements of America's engineers by submitting their own favorites.
  • Discover Engineering (www.discoverengineering.org) — Middle school students and educators can find the how and why of becoming an engineer at this entertaining and informational website, which features links to related educational, professional, and corporate sites. This site is the portal for a new DVD series for middle school students and includes video clips and classroom guides from the DVD.

Local events planned in conjunction with national Engineers Week events will include:

  • The 2009 Richmond Joint Engineers' Council (RJEC) Annual Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 19th at the historic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. This year's speaker will be Jill S. Tietjen, P.E., one of the nation's leading historians on women in engineering and science. Ms. Tietjen has served as National President of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and its Women in Engineering Committee. She has also served as Vice President of the NCEES and was previously a member of the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission. Also at the banquet, RJEC's Engineer of the Year and Community Service awards will be presented. Additionally, winners of RJEC's annual essay and media contests for area students will be announced, with banquet attendees participating in the selection of the best multimedia presentation from the top three finalists. Complete banquet schedule and registration information is available at www.rjec.org.
  • The Virginia Society of Professional Engineers (VSPE) will sponsor and coordinate the MATHCOUNTS 2009 competitions in Virginia which will be held during February and March. MATHCOUNTS is a national competition where students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades compete both as individuals and as teams in events designed to promote mathematical competency. MATHCOUNTS was developed as a positive and rewarding solution to reversing the current problem of math illiteracy and as a way to make parents, educators and the general public aware of career opportunities in math. Information about the Virginia competitions is available at www.vspe.org.


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