Founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), Engineers Week, one of the oldest of America’s professional outreach efforts, celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2016. 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. In November 2013, the Foundation, seeking a name more reflective of its focus, 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 2016, February 21-27, will be led by The Boeing Company, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and SAE International. 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.
• Future City® Competition — First and foremost a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program, Future City is a cross-curricular program that lets students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades do the things engineers do: identify problems, brainstorm ideas, design solutions, test and retest, build and then share the results. Sponsored in part by DiscoverE, Future City has been redesigned this year and uses the engineering design process as a framework to guide students through the creation of their cities. Within this framework, students apply specific project management methods to keep their projects on track. This new structure gives students a real world learning experience they can apply to future challenges in school, work and life. Led by an educator and engineer mentor, students will design a virtual city using the latest SimCity software. This year’s topic, waste management, reflected in the challenge theme – Waste Not, Want Not!, encourages students to explore and develop futuristic solutions within the confines of their city. First place regional teams win a trip to Washington, D.C. for National Finals, held February 13-17, 2016.
• Global Day of the Engineer (February 24, 2016) — Global Day is the movement by the international community to ensure that people everywhere understand how engineers make the world a better place as well as to encourage and inspire future generations of innovators.
• Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day® (February 25, 2016) — 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. Thousands of engineers nationwide volunteer each year to encourage and serve as role models for young students as they develop an attainable vision of themselves in scientific careers.
• Discover Engineering Family Day (February 27, 2016) — Held each year at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., this event is a fun-filled day designed to introduce students 4 to 12 to the wonder of engineering and the importance of technological literacy. It attracts thousands of people and kicks off DiscoverE Engineers Week activities in the national capital area. Set to begin at 10:00 AM, the event presents basic science and engineering principles through hands-on and mind-challenging activities in a way children can embrace and enjoy.
• Global Marathon (March 8-10, 2016) — The Global Marathon is a three-day, free, virtual conference for women in engineering and technology. Held in conjunction with International Women’s Day, women around the globe join a lively discussion about engineering and technology issues that transcend borders, age, and professional and personal experiences.
• New Faces of Engineering — Today’s engineers are working to solve issues on a global scale. 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 college engineering students, whose academic successes and experiences in the engineering field have positioned them to make an impact. Honorees receive a scholarship award 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.
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 2016 Richmond Joint Engineers’ Council (RJEC) Annual Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 25th at the historic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. This year’s invited speaker is Mary C. Doswell.
As Senior Vice President, Dominion Energy Solutions, Ms. Doswell oversees the company’s Retail organization, which includes the sale of natural gas commodities to residential, commercial and industrial customers in non-regulated markets; Dominion Products and Services, which sells home warranty and protection products and services; and Dominion Voltage Inc., which provides grid efficiency and optimization solutions to utilities, nationally and internationally.
At the 2016 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 2016 Richmond Joint Engineers’ Council (RJEC) Celebrate Engineering Ingenuity Day, formerly Career Day, will be held on Sunday, February 21st 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 2016 competitions. Local winners will meet at the State competition to be held at Dominion Virginia Power’s Corporate Headquarters, Innsbrook Technical Center in Glen Allen, Virginia on March 19, 2016. 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. ##