Founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), Engineers Week is among the oldest of America’s professional outreach efforts. For several decades, Engineers Week activities were coordinated by the National Engineers Week Foundation. In 1990, the Foundation and Bechtel Group launched “DiscoverE,” the first formal national call to engineer volunteers for engagement in K-12 education, partly in response to government studies showing future shortages in engineering talent. DiscoverE became the Foundation’s K-12 umbrella volunteer outreach movement.
Following an enthusiastic response to DiscoverE, the Foundation developed additional volunteer materials and programs while working to meet partners’ specific needs: National Engineers Week Future City Competition (1993); Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (2001); Global Marathon for, by, and about Women in Engineering & Technology (2005); New Faces of Engineering (2003) and College Edition (2011); and DiscoverE Educator Recognition (2012).
By 2013, it became apparent that with such a robust and diverse portfolio, a broad and deep coalition, and year-round engagement, a name more reflective of who they are and who they serve was needed. In November 2013, the Foundation announced its new organizational name: DiscoverE.
DiscoverE, in coordination with its working coalition of more than 100 professional organizations, is dedicated to sustaining and growing a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism.
Engineers Week 2015, February 22-28, will be led by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and the Shell Oil Company. Visit www.discovere.org for more information on programs including:
• DiscoverE Educator Awards — The DiscoverE Educator Awards shine a spotlight on the educators who are inspiring tomorrow’s innovation generation. Unique to this program, engineers and engineering students are part of the nomination process. This community recognizes that educators deserve support and respect when it comes to advancing student learning.
• Discover Engineering Family Day — Held each year at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., this action-packed event consistently draws thousands of attendees. Set to begin at 10:00 AM on February 28th, the event features engineering concepts, scientific principles and technology in a way children can embrace and enjoy.
• DiscoverE Visits® — More than 55,000 engineers work with 5,500,000 students and teachers in elementary through secondary schools and after school programs each year through classroom visits and extracurricular programs.
• Global Marathon — Women in Engineering & Technology: Connect, Network, Be Inspired. (March 9-11, 2015)
The Global Marathon is a free, online event for women in engineering and technology worldwide and coincides with International Women’s Day. It comprises the main event, a globally connected “virtual town square” of webcasts, and locally organized, in-person satellite events.
• Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day® (February 26, 2015) — With hundreds of events happening each year, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is a movement that shows girls how creative and collaborative engineering is and how engineers are changing our world.
• Future City® Competition — Sponsored in part by DiscoverE, more than 40,000 students from 1,350 middle schools are participating nationwide in Future City regional competitions. Led by an educator and engineer mentor, students will research today’s urban farms as they design a virtual city using the latest SimCity software. This year’s theme – Feeding Future Cities – encourages students to explore today’s urban agriculture, from aeroponic systems for roof top farms to recycled gray water to the sustainability-driven farm-to-table movement, and develop a futuristic solution to growing crops within the confines of their city. First place regional teams win a trip to Washington, D.C. for National Finals, held February 14-18, 2015.
• New Faces of Engineering — This program strives to promote the accomplishments of young engineers by highlighting their engineering contributions and the resulting impact on society. These engineers, age 30 years or younger, have shown outstanding abilities in projects that significantly impact public welfare or further professional development and growth.
• New Faces of Engineering College Edition — College Edition recognizes the best and brightest 3rd, 4th, and 5th year engineering students, whose academic successes and experiences in the engineering field have positioned them to make an impact. Honorees receive a scholarship ranging from $500 to $1,000 and are recognized on the College Edition’s Facebook page, an online forum where students can meet with their engineering peers in every field and learn about events, licensure exams, internships, jobs, competitions, and the benefits of membership to engineering associations.
Discover Engineering (www.discovere.org) — This dynamic website is designed to showcase the how’s and why’s of becoming an engineer to middle school students, their parents and educators. The site features many exciting video presentations and related hands-on challenges, career information, educational materials, engineering resources, and links to related educational, professional, and corporate sites. There is even an online store where books and DVDs, mugs and posters can be purchased. Additionally, information from previous sister sites, MyDiscoverE and Sightseers Guide to Engineering, has now been consolidated at the new DiscoverE site, www.discovere.org.
Cyberchase — Cyberchase is an action-packed math adventure for young children produced by WNET-NY (PBS). Developed for kids ages 8 to 11, Cyberchase delivers positive messages about math by teaching concepts in a fun way that kids can understand. The associated website, pbskids.org/cyberchase/, shows kids that math is everywhere and everyone can be good at it! Online quests, games, videos and more help kids develop strong math and problem solving skills.
Design Squad Nation — Premiering on PBS in 2011 and produced by WGBH-Boston, DESIGN SQUAD NATION is high-energy, high-drama reality television led by two professional engineers, Judy and Adam, who work with kids around the world to make their wishes come true through engineering. The TV show, website, pbskids.org/designsquad/, and extensive outreach campaigns are sparking kids inventive spirit to engage them in content-rich engineering challenges.
Engineer Your Life (EYL) — EYL is a ground-breaking messaging campaign that is successfully challenging the outdated stereotypes about engineering most commonly found among today’s high school girls, teachers, and counselors. Based on the results of an extensive nationwide survey identifying what girls want—careers that are creative, collaborative, personally fulfilling, and most of all socially relevant, EYL is making a compelling case to high school girls about exciting opportunities in engineering through a web site, engineeryourlife.org, promotional materials, and national workshops for engineers and educators.
Local events planned in conjunction with National Engineers Week activities will include:
• The 2015 Richmond Joint Engineers’ Council (RJEC) Annual Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 26th at the historic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. This year’s invited speaker is Allyn E. Kilsheimer, P.E..
Founder, President and CEO of KCE Structural Engineers, PC since 1969 and Executive Vice President of its sister company, KTLH Engineers, PC since 1995, Mr. Kilsheimer’s structural design work has encompassed a broad range of project types throughout the United States and overseas.
In addition to traditional design work, Mr. Kilsheimer is widely recognized as a forensic engineering expert and has developed the expertise and ability to respond to disasters requiring immediate emergency structural shoring, stabilization, selective demolition, and reconstruction.
At the 2015 banquet, RJEC will present its annual Engineer of the Year, Community Service, and Lifetime Achievement awards as well as announce the winners of its annual essay and media contests.
• The 2015 Richmond Joint Engineers’ Council (RJEC) Celebrate Engineering Ingenuity Day, formerly Career Day, will be held on Saturday, March 14th at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia. The event will feature contests and a chance to learn about engineering disciplines. Complete information is available at www.rjec.org.
• The Virginia Society of Professional Engineers (VSPE) will sponsor and coordinate the Virginia MATHCOUNTS 2015 competitions beginning in early February. Local winners will meet at the State competition to be held at Deep Run High School in Glen Allen, Virginia on April 4, 2015. A national competition for students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades, 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. Students compete both as individuals and as teams in events designed to promote mathematical competency. For more detailed information about local Virginia competitions as well as the State competition, visit www.vspeeducation.org. ##