February 22, 2011

Engineering Day, banquet, set for Thursday

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Faculty and student engineers at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will gather this week to recognize top scholars and open the world of engineering to young people as they celebrate National Engineers Week.

The SIUC College of Engineering is organizing the events. The week’s highlight is the annual Engineering Day and Engineering Banquet, both of which are set for Thursday, Feb. 24.

More than 300 high school students from 16 area schools will visit the SIUC campus that day starting at 9 a.m. Students will participate in a variety of engineering-related games and activities, including “The Golf Ball Tower,” “Foil Boats,” “Crash Test,” “Electric Maze” and the ever-popular “Egg Drop.” The activities are sponsored by student engineering organizations.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover Engineering Day at SIUC. For more information, contact Judy Sherwood, administrative aide, at 618/528-4006 or judy@siu.edu.

Students will rotate among the activities at their own pace, turning in a scorecard at the end of their day. The top three students for each game will receive an official SIUC College of Engineering T-shirt. Students also will look at engineering student creations, such as the so-called “moonbuggy,” Formula-style race cares, robots, hovercraft and other items. Organizers also will provide lunch before the day’s activities end about 2 p.m.

Lizette Chevalier, acting associate dean for the College of Engineering, said the SIUC events are part of the national Engineering Week, and campus events will foster outreach to current and future engineers.

“Our student organizations sponsor a wide range of hands-on activities where students can test their ability to solve design challenges,” Chevalier said. “In the evening, we will host a

banquet that brings together faculty, students, staff, alumni, employers and friends of our college.”

The Engineering Banquet begins a 6 p.m. Thursday, starting with a reception in the J.W. Corker Lounge at the Student Center. The buffet dinner starts at 7 p.m. in the Student Center ballrooms, during which officials will present outstanding teacher awards for each department in the college.

The evening’s highlight is keynote speaker Charles P. Smith, a project manager with Hanson Professional Services. Smith earned his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering in 1997 and his Master of Science degree in 1999, both at SIUC.

Smith, an associate partner with his company, leads the firm’s Nashville, Tenn., office. He previously worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation and served in the U.S. Air Force during Operation Desert Storm. Smith has been heavily involved in the American Society of Civil Engineers and helped get SIUC students involved in the annual Concrete Canoe Competition. He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree after leaving SIUC.

Smith’s career includes a variety of public and private clients around the country. In his current line, he manages projects and teams that plan, engineer and research multimodal transportation projects.

The banquet also will include honors for students and faculty, Chevalier said.

“In addition to the guest speaker, we will present awards to faculty, staff and students that acknowledge their accomplishments,” Chevalier said. “There will be a great deal of excitement and fun here.”