February 17, 2009

Engineering Day, banquet highlight annual event

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students from the southern half of Illinois will explore building bridges, catapults and robots during Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s annual Engineering Day.

The event runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, at the Engineering Building and precedes the College of Engineering’s annual banquet, scheduled for Feb. 25.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover Engineering Day events, which start at 9 a.m. Thursday. For more information, contact John W. Nicklow, professor and associate dean, at 618/453-4321.

Planners expect about 400 high school, junior high and middle school students for the event. It features games and competitions with an engineering twist. Members of the college’s leadership and scholars development program, along with engineering registered student organizations, are coordinating this year’s event.

John W. Nicklow, professor and associate dean of the college, said the event is an opportunity to showcase the many engineering programs SIUC offers, while also entertaining the young students.

“We get to expose these students to activities that fall under the engineering discipline, showing them it can be fun and exciting,” he said. “At the same time, we try to draw a relationship between the course work, the curriculum and the job opportunities. We get them thinking, and in the process, they get to see all we have to offer here at SIUC.”

Students from about 30 schools will attend the event and have the opportunity to compete for prizes with a series of engineering challenges. Those include competitions in bridge building, catapults, airplane design, robotics and water rockets, among others. A new event, The Dawgscalator Challenge, will further test the students’ engineering aptitude.

SIUC engineering students will teach, demonstrate projects and answer questions from the participants. The college will provide pizza for sale that day, as well.

The Engineering Banquet is set for Wednesday, Feb. 25, in the Student Center ballrooms C and D. The festivities begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner at 7 p.m.

Richard Blaudow is the keynote speaker for the event. An SIUC engineering alumnus and benefactor, Blaudow founded Advanced Technology Systems, which provides managed services for production equipment maintenance, industrial parts repair and industrial technology infrastructure support for manufacturers. He was set to speak at last year’s event, which was canceled because of the ice storm that closed the University.

Blaudow is a 1970 SIUC graduate, earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology. In 2006, he and his wife, Brigitte, funded The Blaudow/ATS Technical Leadership Program in Manufacturing with a $250,000 donation to the University. The program is aimed at identifying and supporting future engineering leaders.

The program recruits the top students in manufacturing engineering from around the state who are finishing up their community college careers. Students in all engineering specialties are eligible for the program, with a committee composed of College of Engineering and ATS representatives picking the recipients each year.

Tickets for the banquet are on sale at the dean’s office in the Engineering Building. The price is $15 for faculty and staff, $4 for students.

The banquet and Engineering Day are part of the annual celebration of Engineering Week, which honors engineers and engineering achievement. Begun in 1951, this is SIUC's 28th annual Engineering Week celebration.