National Engineers Week is one of my favorite times of the year. It is a weeklong event dedicated to celebrating and showcasing our profession. TexITE Greater Houston Section (TexITE) has been partnering with the Houston Engineers Week (E-week Committee), an engineer volunteers based group, at events related to E-week to do just that. TexITE’s partnership with Houston E-week allows us to strengthen our Section members’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic (STEM). Here are some of the highlights TexITE membership involvement in the 2018 E-week.
On January 13, 2018 TexITE members volunteered as judges at the Future City Competition (Houston Region). For the first time, TexITE presented a special award and a scholarship to the team with the Best Transportation Design. The 20 teams each consisted of three to six middle school age students, from the Greater Houston/South Texas Region. This year’s topic was Age-Friendly City. I was very impressed by the students’ attention to details in their models and their ideas to provide a friendly environment (such as walkability, public transit, healthcare support and etc.) for the aging population. The Best Transportation Design winning team, selected by TexITE, was also the winning team for the overall Houston Region. They went to Washington D.C. for the national competition in February 2018.
This year’s MathCounts (Houston Region) competition, one of the largest in the nation with more than 300 students competing, took place on February 10. TexITE members volunteered as graders or proctors during the competition. Graders went through three rounds of paper tests to determine winners of the competition. I am also amazed by the dedication of the students, teachers/mentors and parents. Some of the teams met daily after school to study and practice, and only the best students were put in the team to compete. The winners received scholarship and advanced to the State Competition in March. The national competition will take place in May 2018.
During the official E-Week, the Houston E-Week Committee kicked it off with its annual Run of Pi, which supports Houston area STEM programs. The proceeds of the run provide funds for local Houston elementary, middle, and high schools that support STEM programs. In addition to being a sponsor of the race since the beginning, TexITE helped with setting up traffic control and coordinated volunteers for the race. After the race, some of the young runners got a chance to learn how to use a measuring wheeler from one of the TexITE volunteers.
One of TexITE’s E-Week traditions is to recognize one of our Section’s young member. Our 2018 Young Engineer of the Year is Amy Coxe, P.E. Amy has been actively involved in TexITE for many years. She has assisted with many aspects of the organization including helping with on-site registration at local and state meetings, and serving on both the Shrimp Boil and the Membership committees. Amy currently serves as the Membership Chair for TexITE Houston Chapter.
I had a great time at all the events celebrating our profession as engineers and showing students what engineering is all about. It is my goal for next year’s E-week to incorporate some transportation aspects to some of the student activities.