More than a week-long event, Engineers Week (February 19th – 25th) is a year-round commitment to making a difference. Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951, “EWeek” is now a formal coalition of more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. Its mission is to raise public awareness of engineers’ positive contributions to people’s quality of life.
“Every roadway, traffic signal, bridge, tunnel, train track, airplane, airport, storm drainpipe network, sewer system, stormwater pond… everything around you was designed by engineers who put a lot of thought into their designs,” said Associate Engineer Brittany Ayers, PE.
This year’s “EWeek” theme is “Creating the Future.” It is meant to highlight how key engineers are in innovating solutions to global challenges that impact future generations.
— DiscoverE (@DiscoverEorg) February 19, 2023
“Engineers can make a difference, especially in small communities, by providing the community with the knowledge and expertise that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to,” said Project Engineer Rhiannon Dodge, PE. “Many small communities have volunteer mayors and managers who don’t have the time to assess their infrastructure, create maintenance schedules, prepare funding applications, and design improvements, so having an Engineer on board can be the driving force for providing safe and modern infrastructure for the community.”
Part of the week’s focus is to spark students’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). RK&K engineers we spoke to said it was an early interest in these topics and supportive mentors that helped inspire them to become an engineer.
“I have always had a STEM-oriented brain. I attended a Governor’s School for STEM in high school where several teachers and counselors encouraged me to pursue a degree in engineering. I was supported by teachers who worked in engineering first before moving to academia,” noted Field Engineer Lucy Travers, EIT, CMIT.
“My passion for LEGOs and building blocks as a kid, combined with an analytical mind and an aptitude for math and science helped influence my choice to become an engineer,” said Engineer Wyatt Kennedy, EIT.
The group said they enjoy giving back to the community by engaging with students of all ages at events throughout the year.
“I love going to career fairs and talking to young engineers about the work we do, as well as attending “career days” at the elementary/middle school level,” said Senior Project Engineer Amanda Barrett, PE.
“Talking to prospective engineers/students at college events and sharing our passion with someone with attentive listening ears is always valuable,” said Project Engineer Ondine Patel, PE.
“We are always improving and using new technologies throughout our society, so it is important for both younger and older engineers to learn from each other.”Project Engineer Ondine Patel, PE
The engineers said one of the keys to growth was having great mentors to design creative solutions for complex problems.
“We are always improving and using new technologies throughout our society, so it is important for both younger and older engineers to learn from each other,” Patel said.
“Giving young people access to learn more about our field is key to ensuring this important work continues to be done by bright, passionate individuals,” noted Barrett.
“RK&K does an excellent job of providing younger engineers (like me) with mentors who care and lead the way in engineering. Not only do they have an outstanding technical background, but they care and genuinely want to teach,” Kennedy added.