The University of New Mexico’s School of Engineering celebrated National Engineers Week Feb. 18 through 22 with several events aimed at getting students interested in math and science.
The National Society of Professional Engineers created National Engineers Week in 1951. The week is celebrated in conjunction with George Washington’s birthday, who is considered to be the nation’s first engineer for his notable survey work.
The purpose of the week is to celebrate the contributions engineers make to society, as well as promote the field and increase involvement.
UNM kicked off the week with a workshop presented by Tau Beta Pi: The Engineering Honor Society. The workshop gave students the opportunity to network with recent engineering graduates and ask questions about how to prepare themselves for the field.
The week’s second event allowed students to enjoy a free showing of the movie, “Hidden Figures,” along with a drawing for two free tickets to the “Da Vinci, the Genius” exhibition at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science — UNM’s School of Engineering is one of the local sponsors of this exhibition.
Kim Delker, marketing manager for the School of Engineering, said the school hopes showing a movie like “Hidden Figures” will help inspire students.
“‘Hidden Figures’ is a cool story about African-American women who helped do calculations for NASA,” Delker said. “We hope showing films like this will help inspire girls and underrepresented people to pursue engineering.”
The week’s third main event included a STEP event, presented by the UNM Engineering Ambassadors.
The STEP Program aims to help students succeed by engaging them in hour-long mentoring sessions with staff and faculty members three times each semester. Attending mentoring sessions allows students to become eligible for paid internships and conferences, according to the STEP website.
Orlando Garayburu, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said the STEP program plays an important role in helping students land internships, as well as potential jobs.
“It really helps because if you do an internship with a company, and you do well, they keep their eyes on you, and they start hiring you every summer and then they might hire you for a final job,” Garayburu said. “It helps students make connections.”
Delker said the School of Engineering hopes to create more events like these in the future.
“Hopefully we can plan more events in the future like bigger schools do in order to recognize what engineers do,” she said. “Our goal is to draw attention to the school, the diversity of our students and what we have to offer.”
Mikhaela Smith is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MikhaelaSmith18.