By Hannah Gardiner
Did you know that National Engineers Week (NEW) is starting Sunday, February 18? So, it’s time to celebrate the engineering profession and help others discover engineering!
NEW was first celebrated in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers and has since grown to include additional programs like the Future City Competition and Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Today, National Engineers Week includes many opportunities for outreach and volunteerism for those of us who would like to make a difference in our community.
So how can you celebrate the week?
1. Visit an elementary, middle or high school
Kids don’t get many opportunities to learn about engineering, let alone nuclear science. Giving a presentation and doing hands-on demos are a great way to get them excited about it! You could bring everyday items that are radioactive, such as bananas and kitty litter, to show how radiation is all around us. Or you might bring a Geiger counter and Fiestaware to demonstrate how the farther you are from the Fiestaware, the smaller amount of radiation you get.
For more ideas for the classroom, check out the Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information’s list of educational activities.
2. Invite students to visit your workplace or lab
Bringing students into your workplace can help them visualize what being an engineer is really like. Show them that what we do is fun and makes a difference in the world. Take them on a tour, introduce them to your colleagues, let them play (safely!) with some cool gadgets. Who knows? Maybe you will inspire someone to learn more about nuclear and become an engineer one day!
3. Organize an Engineer’s Week lunch at work
At the end of the day, this week is about celebrating our profession. Providing lunch for your colleagues is an easy way to say thanks to everyone. Use this as a chance to take a break from the day, bring everyone together, and recognize those who have served your company or university and the community.
Hannah Gardiner is a fourth year Ph.D. student in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Florida, where she also received her M.S. in Nuclear Engineering in May 2016. She received her B.S. in Physics from Louisiana State University in May 2014. Her current research is focused on designing an x-ray backscatter radiography system to measure in-field root system architecture. Hannah is an active member in both of the ANS Social Media Team and the Institute for Nuclear Material Management.