National Engineers Week 2000 to Help Nurture Female, Minority Engineers

Talk about a tall order. It won't be easy to top the engineering feats of the 20th Century and the past millennium. However, it will be a lot more likely if engineering can increase its future ranks with the women and ethnic groups the field has lacked in past decades.To begin this task, National Engineers Week 2000 will include a concerted effort by many of the event's 60 engineering soc...

01/01/2000


Talk about a tall order. It won't be easy to top the engineering feats of the 20th Century and the past millennium. However, it will be a lot more likely if engineering can increase its future ranks with the women and ethnic groups the field has lacked in past decades.

To begin this task, National Engineers Week 2000 will include a concerted effort by many of the event's 60 engineering societies and businesses to actively recruit women and minorities. "Recruiting, retaining, and advancing a diverse engineering workforce is more than a moral imperative. It's good business," says Phil Hall, chairman of CH2M Hill, which co-chairs the week of U.S.-based events with the American Consulting Engineers Council.

Engineers nationwide also participate in E-Week by organizing local programs, developing school visits, and joining on other events that showcase exciting engineering applications and the usefulness of engineering careers. Planning kits for the following year's E-Week are usually distributed each October.

To further increase public awareness, a panel of engineers from the National Academy of Engineering will pick the most significant engineering achievements of the past century and announce its selections at a National Press Club (Washington) lunch during the week. A few likely candidates include the U.S. moon landing, construction of the Hoover Dam, creation of the interstate highway system, invention of the artificial heart, and emergence of computers and the Internet.

Future Cities, Design Challenge

To spark added interest among future engineers, E-Week will also hold its Future City Competition for seventh and eighth grade students. Beginning with five sites in 1993, Future City now includes 20,000 students at more than 800 schools in 20 competing regions in the U.S. First place teams from the regional competitions held in January will win free trips to Washington for the national finals on Feb. 22-23.

Future Cities asks the students to design a city of the future, first on a computer and then on a large 3-D model. Working with their teacher and a volunteer engineer mentor since the beginning of the school year, the students examine real-city problems, such as traffic, pollution, crime, and unemployment; draft possible solutions; and defend their solutions to a panel of engineers.

High school students will be able to join in E-Week via the 11thannual National Design Engineering Challenge, sponsored by the Junior Engineering Technical Society. The challenge asks five-student teams at 19 sites in 17 states to create, build, and demonstrate a working model of a temporary, portable, inexpensive shelter that could be used worldwide by millions of people, who the U.N. reports are left homeless by natural disasters each year. Winning regional teams will also compete nationally in Washington during E-Week.

Exhibits, visits, telecasts

Other major events scheduled for E-Week include:

  • Continuing its three-year tour, "Breaking Though: The Creative Engineer," an exhibition that uses eight case studies to examine the role and process of creativity in engineering.

  • Discover "E," a program in which about 40,000 engineers will visit about 5 million elementary, junior, and senior high school students to help them discover practical applications of math, science, and technology through hands-on activities; and

  • Engineering Goes Public program, which uses hundreds of libraries, science/technology centers, engineering project sites, and local malls, in conjunction with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Junior Engineering Technical Society, to host Engineering Day events that educate the public during E-Week.





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