National Engineers Week (February 20 - 26, 2011) is a time to recognize engineering’s value in the community.
UNL College of Engineering Professors Dr. Jerry Hudgins, electrical engineering, and Dr. Stuart Bernstein, The Durham School, have voiced their support for providing opportunities for students to become engaged in the sciences and learn more about engineering as early as possible.
Essay: Dr. Jerry Hudgins
Dr. Jerry Hudgins is professor and chair with the Department of Electrical Engineering in the UNL College of Engineering.
“We need more engineers.” This national call to action from the president to Americans is not new, but it’s one we’re heeding in Nebraska.
At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I lead the Department of Electrical Engineering and each day I see how our engineering students represent and sustain Nebraska’s “good life,” and make it even better. Our students are studying and enhancing wind power systems, developing energy efficient materials, and generating next generation circuitry for future electronics and telecommunications. Similar advances are happening throughout Nebraska Engineering's varied programs, in both Lincoln and Omaha.
As the state's only engineering college, it's appropriate for the UNL College of Engineering to echo the call for more engineers, even though our enrollment and graduation numbers are strong. We know it’s vital to invigorate the discussion about the importance of science and math, especially in younger Nebraska students’ lives.
The accomplishments of our Nebraska Engineering alumni, here and around the world, provide excellent examples. Our alumni demonstrate how engineering is about innovating products and processes with creative problem solving to improve our world.
National Engineers Week, is a reminder that engineers of all types impact our lives constantly. “National E-Week” was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers. President Harry S. Truman declared it a time to recognize engineering’s value in the community, with our nation rebuilding from the Great Depression and World War II. Today’s challenges call even more loudly for engineering solutions.
The National Academy of Engineering has outlined “Grand Challenges” to be addressed for humanity’s survival and success: make solar energy economical; provide energy from fusion; develop carbon sequestration methods; manage the nitrogen cycle; provide access to clean water; restore and improve urban infrastructure; engineer better medicines; reverse-engineer the brain; prevent nuclear terror; secure cyberspace; enhance virtual reality; advance personalized learning; and engineer the tools of scientific discovery.
As our nation grapples with the current economic recovery, many believe engineers must be at the heart of any growth, particularly a resurgence via green jobs. As an associate director with the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences and Research, I can attest that, when looking closely at the sources of the gross domestic product for a state or a nation, it’s clear: engineering drives much of that economic activity.
My message to you is to more widely heed the national call to help our youth learn about science, math and engineering. One of the efforts I’m involved with is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s “Wind For Schools” project, and our work has placed wind turbines at schools in more than 20 Nebraska districts, where classes can begin learning in-depth about wind energy.
As we celebrate IST&E-Week this month with Nebraska Engineering’s programs in Omaha at The Peter Kiewit Institute, and with April’s E-Week traditions in Lincoln, we encourage families and educators to join us in providing opportunities for students to experience hands-on activities in these areas. Our state’s best “product” is our students and we appreciate the support of parents, teachers and others to develop these future innovators and creative problem solvers.
Engineering Web Resources
- National Engineers Week
- Encouraging girls in Engineering
- Engineering Go For It
- Read about ways engineering helps the world
- Be an Engineer
- Engineering Careers
- Importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education
- White House initiative on educating for our nation’s progress
- National Science Foundation