Busy celebration of Engineers Week builds bridges between faculty, students, area teens

High school students enjoy an Engineers Week demonstration Tuesday, Feb. 22, at NIU's Engineering Building.

High school students enjoy an Engineers Week demonstration Tuesday, Feb. 22, at NIU's Engineering Building.

NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology had a busy week. 

In celebration of national Engineers Week, CEET organized a series of events that brought 200 middle and high school students from 10 schools in the northern Illinois region and included a trivia competition and banquet for CEET students. 

The halls of the Engineering Building were much noisier than usual Tuesday, Feb. 22. 

College staff celebrated the engineering profession by inviting the participating young students to experience engineering applications through 10 different types of experiments, such as material testing, electromagnetic waves and antennas, metrology, electric power generation and much more. 

Students made their way through four to six presentations, depending on their age, and everyone had the opportunity to tour the building, walk through the laboratories and even speak with current students about building and racing a Formula One car and a super mileage car

Students loved seeing the practical application of engineering principles and enjoyed watching CEET students working hands-on in the labs. 

CEET administrators understand the importance of these students leaving their classrooms to come see what the real college experience looks like.

“When young students come to the College of Engineering Building, they see first-hand the way we like to teach. Bridging the gap between theory and practice is what we do best. When they come here and see our 46 laboratories, they begin to understand that we move our students away from the desk and into real world situations,” says Omar Ghrayeb, associate dean of undergraduate programs. 

The next evening, the college hosted its first College Bowl. 

Eight teams, totaling 32 engineering and technology students and faculty, competed for scholarship money and bragging rights. The competition was close, with most teams utilizing a faculty member as one of their teammates. Questions represented all four departments within CEET and also covered topics such as popular music, Harry Potter, a little Star Trek and The Office trivia. 

The winning team, comprised of Luke Burke, John Roberts, professor Gary Chen and Steven Roberts, had a blast and enjoyed the wide range of topics the bowl covered. 

“The funnier questions kept you loose and were a lot of fun,” said Steven Roberts, the first of his team to get involved in the bowl after a faculty member first persuaded him to compete. ”My professor asked me to get involved, so I got a team together and even asked if Dr. Chen would like to join us. It’s been a lot of fun and we will definitely be back to defend our title!” 

After dinner, participants enjoyed a presentation by Eric Lattas, a senior engineer for integrator development for Fanuc Robots. Lattas spent about 30 minutes discussing the influence of robots on manufacturing.  The presentation included many video clips demonstrating how powerful and effective robots are in building cars, watercrafts and other items. 

Visit the college’s Flickr page to see photos from these events.

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