The National Engineers Week Future City Competition™ grew from 30 to 33 regional sites in 2004, with 30,000 students in 1,100 middle schools. 7,500 engineer volunteers donated 225,000 hours. The all-girl national winning team was from Riverview Junior/Senior High School in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, representing the Pittsburgh region. Student teams work with volunteer engineers beginning in September to design and build models of future urban centers. This year’s essay question, “How can plastics be used to help senior citizens in the future?” was especially timely since the over-60 population is the nation’s fastest growing demographic. The essay prize was sponsored by the American Plastics Council.
In Washington, D.C., more than 8,500 guests participated in ZOOM Into Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum during EWeek. Dozens of hands-on exhibitors, including IBM’s TryScience, worked with families. The event broke attendance records for the museum.
Engineers Week Headquarters continues to support a variety of grassroots activities, especially for education outreach. Through informal “DiscoverE” programs, 45,000 engineers work with 5.5 million students and teachers in and out of the classroom. Reports of local events can be found in the EWeek newsletter archives.
Visioneering 2004 was fantastic! The live event, “High Impact – High Energy – High Tech: Where Science Fair Meets Rock Concert,” drew 471 middle school students, about 60 teachers, and over 200 corporate volunteers. All major network affiliates in the Dallas area covered the event as well as some radio. A 30 minute TV show aired nationally on Channel One on February 27 during EWeek. Teachers have raved about the program. Plans for Visioneering 2005 are underway, to include live events in Dallas and Austin and a new television production.
NASA hosted two live Webcasts for students around the world. During a live Webcast on February 26, NASA's Digital Learning Network took an inside look at how astronauts prepare for life onboard the International Space Station. The Space Station Today, originating from Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, featured live discussions and opportunities to ask questions of NASA astronaut trainer Mark Sonoda. The program also included a special visit from veteran astronaut and NASA engineer Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, re “The Cool Experiment of the Day,” “Website Pick of the Month” and “Space Station Trivia”.
NASA's Mars Public Engagement Office produced the third in the "Women Working on Mars" Webcast series, which aired live on February 26th. The broadcast introduced middle- and high-school age students to some of the great women scientists and engineers at work on the Mars Exploration Rover mission, along with discussion about what it takes to pursue a career in science and engineering.
Engineers Week Headquarters continues to refresh its popular “Discover Engineering Online” Internet site, the only one of its kind for middle school students.