Carnegie Mellon University
February 18, 2014

CEE Service Event Celebrates National Engineers Week

CEE Service Event Celebrates National Engineers Week

CEE Junior Debbie Lin demonstrates how to design and test a bridge using the West Point Bridge Simulator.CEE Junior Debbie Lin demonstrates how to design and test a bridge using the West Point Bridge Simulator.

CEE graduate and undergraduate students kicked off the start of National Engineers Week at the Carnegie Science Center on Friday and Saturday by participating in the Engineer the Future event to help inspire young people to explore technology and science. Student volunteers, organized by the CEE student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, demonstrated how bridges are designed and tested. The event was geared toward students in grades 3-12 and hosted them and families from the Pittsburgh region. 

During the event, kids had the opportunity to design a bridge through the West Point Bridge Design Simulator. Kids then tested the bridge to see how much weight it could hold, a unique demonstration for children to see and understand how bridge designs work. 

“The Bridge Design Simulator allowed kids to apply engineering skills in designing and testing their very own bridge creations,” says Miriam Hegglin, president of CMU’s student chapter of ASCE. “Thanks to our undergraduate and graduate volunteers, we are able to participate in many outreach events to encourage kids to pursue a future in engineering and promote civil engineering in our community.”

Professors from Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Complex Engineered System (ICES)  also participated in this year’s event. CEE Assistant Professor Hae Young Noh and CEE Associate Professor Kaushik Dayal both participated in their “Build a Bone!” demonstration. The activity challenged students to construct a bone-like structure from simple materials, while following design parameters. Students then tested the bones for strength by seeing how much weight they supported. In addition, CEE Assistant Professor Mario Bergés led an activity for the Smart Infrastructure Institute (SII) where visitors could guess the energy consumption of three different house appliances. Visitors could listen to the sound of electrons flowing on a power line through a system that measured the energy consumption. 

The National Engineers Week Foundation is a formal coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. It is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering careers among young students and by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science. Engineers Week helps raise public understanding and appreciation of engineers’ contributions to society. Founded in 1951, it is among the oldest of America’s professional outreach efforts.