E-Week: The Workforce Awakens aims to interest all majors, focus on careers

The nanoblimp station at last year's Vanderbilt University School of Engineering E-Week. (Vanderbilt University)

Engineers Week planners said they looked for events that are interesting, interactive and span all the majors.

Nailed it.

Activities range from the quirky (building Rube Goldberg machines) to the challenging (solving coding puzzles) to the just plain fun (racing marbles on a gravity-operated course). They begin at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 22, and end the following Friday afternoon at Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.

“Maybe an event that focuses on computer science won’t appeal to civil engineers, so we wanted to think broadly,” said Nicholas Hyman (CS’18), the Engineering Council member charged with promoting the event. “We’ve got a jam-packed schedule this year, and a lot of that is because we incorporate so many student organizations. Each one has a contact on the Engineering Council to get them what they need to make their events happen.”

Hannah Chung

The theme this year is E-Week: The Workforce Awakens – an obvious reference to the popular Star Wars movie released in December. Delivering on that theme, Engineers Week will feature a tech talk from a panel of National Instruments engineers, and the Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship will feature Jerry the Bear co-designer Hannah Chung discussing empathy-driven design.

Vanderbilt’s E-Week coincides with the event’s national observance. Established by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, it’s dedicated to explaining and promoting the profession to ensure a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce.

The full schedule is below. All events are in the Featheringill Hall Atrium or the adjacent Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium or study room unless otherwise noted.

E-Week participants at last year's E-Week check their egg after dropping it from the second floor of Featheringill Atrium.

Monday, Feb. 22

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Launch party with food from Jason’s Deli and music.

6-8 p.m.: Code Golf. Competition to solve a problem in the fewest bytes of source code.

6-8 p.m.: Building Rube Goldberg machines.

Tuesday, Feb. 23

9-11 a.m.: Breakfast provided by National Instruments.

11 a.m.-2 p.m: LED cube-building workshop. Programming Arduinos to make light cubes illuminate in specific patterns.

3-4 p.m.: National Instruments tech talk, “Outsmart C3PO: Boost Your Industry Tech Knowledge.” From eye surgery to 5G wireless, explore the wide range of applications that National Instruments technology enables. Network with Vanderbilt alumni and eat Jake’s Bakes cookies. Featheringill Hall Room 138.

6-8 p.m.: LED cube display and competition. Prizes will be awarded for various aspects of the design.

Wednesday, Feb. 24

4-5 p.m.: Order of the Engineer. New members take the ethics oath and receive rings.

6-8 p.m.: Trivia Night. Prizes will be awarded.

Thursday, Feb. 25

12:15-1:10 p.m.: American Society of Civil Engineers Bridge-Building Competition. Winners are chosen based on how much weight their bridges hold.

4:10-5 p.m.: Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship featuring Hannah Chung, co-creator of Jerry the Bear toy that teaches children how to cope with diabetes.

6-7 p.m.: Faculty Talent Show dinner.

7-8 p.m.: Faculty Talent Show. Sarratt Cinema.

Friday, Feb. 26

11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Faculty Appreciation Luncheon.

2-4 p.m.: Marble race. Participants build the course from kits.

Sponsoring organizations: AIChE, ASME, VandyApps, Theta Tau, National Instruments, Engineering Council, Tau Beta Pi, IEEE, Eta Kappa Nu, VUSE Dean’s Office, SWE, Phi Sigma Rho, NSBE, SHPE, SASE, Engineers Without Borders, Engineering World Health


Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
On Twitter @VUEngineering