Engineering has been called the “invisible” or “stealth” profession.
That’s because results of engineers’ work are all around us — in the roads we drive on; the buildings we work in; the food we eat; the computers, and phones and cars we use every day — yet many of us don’t quite know what engineers do. In a 2011 survey from Intel, for example, nearly one-third of teens said they didn’t know about potential job opportunities in engineering.
National Engineers Week, held each year in February, aims to change that.
The National Engineers Week Foundation works to raise awareness and understanding of engineers’ contributions to our community and to ensure a diverse, well-educated engineering workforce by increasing students’ interest in engineering and technology careers.
That’s a cause that resonates in the Corridor and the entire state of Iowa. We have two public universities with nationally-ranked engineering programs; strong, growing support for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education at the elementary and secondary school level; and Cedar Rapids can brag about having one of the country’s highest populations of engineers per capita.
The theme of this year’s National Engineers Week is “Celebrate Awesome.” It’s a week to celebrate “the amazing things (engineers, engineering students and technicians) do every day to make the world a better place.”
Join in the celebration by attending one of the local STEM events planned this spring:
39th Annual Career Guidance Conference
Friday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m.
Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd, SW, Cedar Rapids
Four-hundred high school students will attend breakout sessions focusing on STEM related careers. Students interested in participating should contact their guidance counselor.
High Altitude Balloon Launch
Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 a.m.
North of the Rockwell Collins Recreation Center, 400 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids
Rockwell Collins Amateur Radio Club is sponsoring a high-altitude balloon launch with high school students.
STEM in Action! Weekend Celebration
Iowa Children’s Museum, Coral Ridge Mall, 1451 Coral Ridge Ave., Coralville
Saturday, Feb. 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Engineering Day
Join Rockwell Collins scientists and engineers to learn how science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) are changing the world. Free admission.
Sunday, Feb. 17, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — The Future is Now
Celebrate technology, predict what life will be like in the future and explore past predictions about today’s world. Create a recycled robot buddy, jet packs and LED pop-up cards. Stop by the “take apart table” to find out what is inside electronics.
Admission: $7 ($6 for seniors ages 60 and over, free for children under 1).
Learn more: www.theicm.org or call (319) 625-6255
Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
Tuesday, Feb. 19
Eighty 8th grade girls will be matched 2:1 with female engineers to tour Rockwell Collins, listen to speakers and do a hands-on engineering activity.
First Tech Challenge Iowa Championship
Saturday, Feb. 23, 7 a.m.
Iowa Memorial Union, 125 N. Madison. St., Iowa City
Teams of high school students design, build and program robots, then pit them against each other in head-to-head competition.
Learn more: www.engineering.uiowa.edu/ess/future-students/k-12/first-tech-challenge
Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering
March 6 to 8
A free online forum to connect, support and unite women in engineering and technology. Find a schedule at www.eweek.org/EngineersWeek/GlobalMarathon.aspx?ContentID=46
Eastern Iowa Science & Engineering Fair
Saturday, March 16, 8 a.m.
Lindale Mall, 4444 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
View exhibits from area students as they compete to win trophies, scholarships and a trip to the International Science and Engineering Fair. (Deadline to enter is Feb. 27.)
Full schedule: www.eisef.org/pmwiki/index.php/Web/ScheduleForFairDay
Iowa Science Olympiad
Saturday, March 23, 8:30 a.m.
Coe College’s Eby Fieldhouse, 1220 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
See teams of middle and high school students compete in hands-on, interactive events in disciplines like engineering, earth science and chemistry. The winning team advances to the national tournament.
Learn more: www.coe.edu/iowa-science-olympiad
Saturday, April 13, Lindale Mall, 4444 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
Teams of architects and engineers, as well as student, community and youth groups design and build structures using cans of food. At the close of the exhibition, all the food is donated to HACAP. Deadline to register a team is March 22.
Learn more: www.corridorcanstruction.org
Saturday, May 4, LACMRERS Facility, 3388 Hwy 22, Muscatine
A public STEM-based event. More information online at http://se.iowastem.org/stem_festival