National Engineers Week and World Engineering Day


Leo Shepherd, Contributor

National Engineers Week has just passed us by. This year’s theme was “Reimagining the Possible.” World Engineering Day is today March 4th.

For us in the Huntsville/Madison area engineers are especially important. Jessye Gaines, an engineering academy teacher, said, “Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal changed Huntsville from an agricultural community to the engineering mecca of the US when they were first created in the 1950s by Al Senator Sparkman. Engineering has turned our southern city into the diverse, multiethnic, highly educated city it is today.” And none of that would have been possible without the plethora of skilled engineers that flocked here. National Engineers Week was an opportunity to introduce and get more people into the STEM field. This week-long celebration of engineers was started by NSPE in 1951 to introduce more people to what engineers do in their everyday lives and it still holds this goal in its activities each year.

Engineers Week was kicked off with the #WhatEngineersDo campaign on social media to give us insight into what exactly engineers do.

Engineers Week also endeavors to get more women into the STEM field with a day called From Surviving to Thriving which seeks not only to get more women into engineering, but to help them thrive in it as well. Jessye Gaines also mentioned Jody Singer, who is the director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

There was also an Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. This is a day all about volunteers and educators teaching young girls about engineering so as to pique their interest in the STEM fields. We need more of this here in Bob Jones too. We have many great career opportunities for people in engineering here such as NASA, the Redstone Arsenal or any of the many engineering consultation companies. According to Gaines, “We need to target high-achieving females in math and science classes.  We need to encourage them to move on to AP math and AP science classes, and we need their teachers to tell them they would be a great fit with engineering.  There are several females who excel in math and science core classes, but would never sign up for an engineering class.”

World Engineering Day is today.  It’s day to celebrate all the engineers of the world who give us the amenities we enjoy and make us live just a bit easier. It is easy to forget that the internet itself has only been around for 38 years. If you were to go back in time fifty years, everything around you and your day-to-day life would be incredibly different.

National Engineers Week also gives out a Federal Engineer of the Year Award to one outstanding engineer every year, this year Robert Zueck, Ph.D., P.E., of the U.S. Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command, Expeditionary Warfare Center won the award for his work on Zueck discovered how vibrations often can be limiting higher performance for many combat systems such as planes or submarines. For example, when airflow induces excessive vibrations, aircraft can fly no faster. Similarly, when water flow induces strong vibrations, submarines become acoustically visible. This discovery enabled advancements for both to make them faster, stealthier, and more agile.

National Engineers Week is all about celebrating all of the technological wonders engineers have brought us that we enjoy every day. It is a time to be grateful for all of the amenities and gadgets around us and all of the work that brought us all the way from the stone age to where we are today, where we are setting our eyes to the stars and wondering where we may visit one day.