Engineers Week to showcase student skills and spark local youth interest
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 22:02
Miami University, through the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) and the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute, will host several big events during Engineers Week next week.
Executive Director of the Lockheed Institute Louise Moorman said while Miami has had several banquets to celebrate Engineers Week in the past, this will be the first one to heavily involve students. The Lockheed Institute was in charge of setting up the week, meaning engineering students had to be heavily involved.
The first event of the week begins on Monday with a student showcase, which presents the work done by the students of the engineering school.
“In order to celebrate engineering, we need to celebrate the work of the students,” Moorman said.
Students will also work with 6th and 7th graders at the Talawanda Middle School to help promote engineering. The students of Talawanda will be learning about the different fields engineers work in through fun activities.
By promoting engineering to kids at such a young age, students of SEAS and the Lockheed Institute hope to attract more interest in the surrounding community, according to engineering student Jessica Schmidt.
“If we can get kids that age interested in math and science, they may want to become engineering majors in college,” said Schmidt.
The rest of week includes guest speakers James Free, the director of NASA Glenn, and Gary Spitnogle from American Electric Power.
Engineers Week is also focused on bringing in new groups of students. One of those groups is women, as engineering is generally considered to be mostly men. Although women are becoming more prevalent in engineering, the field still has a long way to go, according to Schmidt.
“There are some departments that are 90 percent guys, but there are others where the ratio is 60-40,” Schmidt said.
Engineering students played an important role in bringing a full week of activities to Engineers Week. Members of different engineering student organizations were placed in charge of creating a line of communication among the students. The Lockheed Institute at Miami started just over a year and a half ago. The first cohort consisted of 20 members.
One of those members, junior Lauren Saintz, helped set up teams to help organize the week.
“Most schools have a year to prepare, we’ve only had since November so we had to continue to work during winter break,” Saintz said.
According to Saintz, they were able to take some of the smaller ideas from other schools who have considerable Engineers Weeks, such as Indiana University.
As a member of Lockheed Institute, Saintz and other members help create a level of communication between engineering students.
“We are trying to change the idea that engineering majors keep to themselves and don’t participate in activities outside of class,” said Saintz.
Engineers Week is not only dedicated to changing the perception of engineering majors. Another Lockheed Institute member, junior Taylor White, said that undecided majors are also a key demographic to the success of Engineers Week.
“Those people who aren’t really sure what they want to do yet can come to Engineers Week and see all of the cool projects we are working one,” White said.
For more information on Engineers Week, visit the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute webpage.