Here’s What’s in Store for Engineers Week in 2015

Learning about LED lighting systems and meeting an astronaut are some of the events planned

28 January 2015

Image: Discover Engineering Family Day

IEEE-USA will be taking part in Eweek by holding an LED exhibit at Discover Engineering Family Day, a full-day event packed with activities that parents and kids can participate in together, held in Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of hands-on activities, museum exhibits, mentorship opportunities, and talks will take place from 22 to 28 February for U.S. National Engineers Week. The goal of the weeklong event is to introduce children to engineering and technology while celebrating the accomplishments of engineers.

This year, IEEE-USA will be taking part by holding an LED exhibit at Discover Engineering Family Day, a full-day event packed with activities that parents and kids can participate in together, held in Washington, D.C. It will also be sponsoring an award for a nationwide engineering design competition for middle school students, which challenges them to design cities of the future.

During the exhibit, David Cox, the director of alliance development at Cree, a multinational manufacturer of semiconductor LED materials and devices, in Durham, N.C., will be there to talk to attendees about LED lighting systems. His company uses LED technology to power the lighting fixtures that will illuminate the Super Bowl game on 1 February at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Ariz. This will be a first for the sport.

Cox got involved with IEEE at the USA Science and Engineering Festival, in Washington, D.C., where IEEE-USA had a booth. He was drawn to it for its light display, comparing a traditional incandescent, compact fluorescent, and LED bulb. (The latter has since been replaced by a Cree LED.)

“That’s the best demonstrator I’ve ever seen,” said Cox, who earned a degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University, in Raleigh. “It provides a great opportunity to talk about how much more efficient LED lights are, and allows people to see how electrical components are connected behind the walls.”

The bulbs will be on display during Discover Engineering Family Day, which has drawn more than 9,000 visitors for each of the past four years. David Crouch, former astronaut on the Space Shuttle Columbia, will also be there to meet attendees and sign autographs.


Other events include the Future City Competition National Finals, a six-month long contest for U.S. middle school students to design cities of the future. The finals will be held from 15 to 17 February at the Capital Hilton, also in Washington, D.C. More than 100 students and 600 attendees will be there. And 37 regional-winning teams will be competing for the top prize of a week at U.S. Space Camp, in Huntsville, Ala. IEEE-USA sponsors the national third-place award of US $2,000 as well as the Best Communications System award, which is presented to the team with the most strategic communications system that is both efficient and accurate. Recipients of this award receive a plaque and $100 savings bond. IEEE-USA president Jim Jefferies will present the prizes.


EWeek activities will also include celebrations and ceremonies honoring engineers and the work they do to improve lives. On 27 February, the DiscoverE San Diego Awards Banquet will be held, presenting awards to distinguished individuals and organizations from the area. Florida’s Tampa Bay Engineers Week Banquet will have special guest Story Musgrave, a former astronaut on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Musgrave conducted the first spacewalk during the space shuttle era.

And on 27 February, 50 middle and high school students who were top of their class will be invited to the Chicagoland Engineering Awards Benefit. In addition to receiving awards and accolades, they will have the opportunity to meet accomplished engineers, and possibly IEEE Life Fellow Martin Cooper, inventor of the cellphone.


If you’re interested in volunteering with IEEE-USA at the Discover Engineering Family Day event, contact Chris McManes. For those outside of the area, here are other ways to get involved:

  • Participate in your local section’s EWeek activities
  • Make an engineering-related presentation in a classroom, school club, or local library
  • Become a mentor for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, which familiarizes girls to engineering and technology

For more ideas, check out this recorded webinar, “Six Easy Ways to Make a Difference During Engineers Week.”

Chris McManes is public relations manager for IEEE-USA.

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