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: Prof. Stuart Bernstein
Stuart Bernstein is a professor in The Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction in the UNL College of Engineering.
We’ve heard the call to the nation from our president: “We need more engineers.” In Omaha, some of these future engineers (and their families) will walk through the doors of The Peter Kiewit Institute for an Open House during “Information Science & Technology and Engineering Week,” timed with National Engineers Week in February.
As a professor in The Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering in Omaha, I see the importance of extending our community of students, faculty and alumni making a positive difference in the world, through skills they grow in our programs. And there’s room for many more to join us.
I’ve worked with many of our PKI students who join service learning projects each year: building solutions where there’s need, right here in our neighborhoods, and equipping participants with skills to help in more ways and places. And now, as director for Project Lead The Way in Nebraska, I am able to work with Nebraska secondary schools to encourage implementation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning for everyone, not just engineers.
As our local IST&E-Week celebration shows—and in Lincoln, the UNL College of Engineering hosts an E-Week in April—STEM studies can generate tangible results that have value on many levels. When a building is designed to be not only more energy-efficient but also more attractive and functional by placing windows that enhance daylight use, for example, it's easy to see that practicality and beauty do coexist.
When young students study STEM topics, the positive effects are felt not only in Nebraska, but throughout the world. STEM learners can participate in green collar jobs and enjoy worthwhile careers in every field using the STEM training that taught them critical thinking and problem solving skills. It's exciting for them to use these skills to shape their lives and communities, moving them in a positive direction.
For National E-Week this year, think about how you can encourage a student’s hands-on experiences with STEM learning, to keep upward momentum for our quality of life and expectations. Individuals' actions can literally put a foot in the door, and efforts such as Project Lead The Way--partnering primary/secondary and higher education, government and business--can then make sure there's a welcome and an achievable next step on that important path for the young people of Nebraska.
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