Students celebrate engineer’s week

GW concluded National Engineers Week with a sold-out ball Friday night at the Washington Marriott, raising $1,500 for student engineering activities. The annual week of events is celebrated around George Washington’s birthday because the University namesake was a military engineer.

Other events throughout the week included a circuit design contest and a three-legged stair race, Wednesday, as well as an egg launcher competition and a paper airplane contest Thursday.

“Engineers Week events were complicated because of the snow,” said senior Miriam Zimet, acting co-president of the Engineers’ Ball. “But the ball turned out great, we got more people than we expected.”

The evening featured a cocktail hour, dinner, a guest speaker and dancing. More than 150 students, faculty, alumni and their guests turned out to raise funds for future programming and to honor the accomplishments of students and faculty members.

Senior Kiana Russell, president of the National Society of Black Engineers, said she enjoyed the ball.

“They really planned this well. It’s a chance to get together and get away from mundane studying and get together with your friends,” Russell said.

Dr. David C. Karlgaard, who received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from GW, spoke to students about his experiences as co-founder of PEC Solutions, a company that helps the government use the Internet and other advanced technologies to improve information sharing.

Awards for Professor of the Year were also presented to one professor in each of five departments in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Shahrokh Ahmadi received the award from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Michael Feldman from the Computer Science Department, Khalid Al Hussain from the Mechanical Engineering Department, Sameh Badie from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and Richard Soland from Engineering Management and Systems Engineering.

Organizers said they were very pleased with the success of the ball.

“It was a really diverse cross-section of the engineering school (who attended the ball),” Zimet said. “It was just a really great time.”

National Engineers Week is a nationwide event sponsored by engineering societies and corporations around the United States. GW’s Engineers’ Council coordinates the campus-wide Engineers Week each year along with other engineering organizations on campus for students to “celebrate the engineering profession and spread the word about what engineering is,” according to the Council’s Web site.

One of the biggest events of the week was the Egg Drop Competition Friday, in which competitors built containers that would protect an egg from breaking when dropped from the roof of the Academic Center.

Students were given specifications about the dimensions and weight of their structures and the entries were graded on the weight of the structure, the time it took for the drop and proximity to the target.

Almost 40 students participated in the event, the majority of whom were engineering students.

“In general the professional organizations (in the area) just don’t do a lot of activities for National Engineers Week, and so the only major (event) is at GW,” said Douglas Jones, SEAS associate dean for academic affairs.

National Engineers Week was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers as an “opportunity for engineers to reach out into their communities to increase awareness and appreciation of the engineering profession,” according to the Web site of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, one of the engineering societies sponsoring the nationwide event.

The week is run by the National Engineers Week Steering Committee, comprised of volunteer leaders from engineering societies and major U.S. corporations that contribute annually to the event.

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