National Engineers Week or “E-Week” is a time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers, and to bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents. In addition, students and pupils throughout the nation are also given hands-on learning activities through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities.
Wilmington District Chief of Engineering Branch Dr. Greg Williams is helping to spearhead E-Week. In past years, he’s coordinated District volunteers who’ve helped promote STEM activities in elementary, middle and high schools in the area. He also plans to reach out to Cape Fear Community College, UNCW, North Carolina A&T and N.C. State about speaking engagements.
With talk of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure on the radar of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) leadership, there could be an impending demand for engineers, especially civil engineers, to overhaul roadways, fix or replace aging bridges and a host of other needs. Williams said that students and pupils who are interested in STEM and who consider a career in engineering when they’re ready for college could be employed for several years after they graduate with infrastructure jobs across the country.
“There is always a push for more engineers to help our infrastructure,” Williams said. “As our nation's infrastructure continues to age, greater numbers of engineers will be needed. Women and minorities continue to be under-represented in engineering, and more must be done to encourage the pursuit of engineering as a profession in all under-represented groups.”
Wilmington District civil engineer Tamara Murphy also helps promote E-Week. She has appeared on WWAY TV’s program “Good Morning Carolina” to explain the role of USACE engineers and what they do, and she usually visits a middle or high school in New Hanover County to speak with students about engineering. She’s a proponent of getting kids interested in STEM early and letting them know that a career in engineering is attainable. For her, it starts at home.
“My kids are showing an aptitude for math and science,” Murphy said. “My daughter likes putting things together and rigging up her own pulley systems on our swing set. She has recently started using an App called ‘Codeable’ that introduces computer programming to elementary students. My son likes constructing and demolishing ‘buildings’ using blocks and other building systems. I probably push puzzles and anything construction or science related harder than most, but the kids enjoy it.”
For more information about National Engineers Week go to www.discovere.org .