If you’re an engineering student in Egypt concerned about your future, there is probably no more useful event than Egypt Engineering Day.
Despite the country’s political turmoil, the annual event drew a record 9000 people, 4000 more than the previous high. Students and their professors came from 35 Egyptian universities and from around the Middle East. For the first time, undergraduates from universities in Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, and Tunisia attended.
The event, held in September at the International Conference Centre in Cairo, was organized by the IEEE Egypt Section Graduates of the Last Decade affinity group. Representatives from top tech companies talked about their work and offered career guidance. Presentations structured along three tracks covered entrepreneurship, the latest engineering research, and the soft skills needed to succeed, as well as students’ engineering projects. And, of course, the day offered the students countless networking opportunities.
The goal of the Egypt Engineering Day, launched in 2002, is to inspire engineering students to bring further technological development to the country, EED 2012 Chairman Amgad Ibrahim says.
“EED has become a very special national event,” Ibrahim says. “It has helped encourage Egyptian youth to be proactive and learn about entrepreneurship, as well as building a wonderful engineering network.”
“With the commitment of these fruitful youths, there is no need to worry about Egypt,” Hani Mahmoud, the country’s minister of communication, said during the opening ceremony. Several other government officials attended, including Ibrahim Ghoniem, minister of education, and Nadia Zokhary, minister of scientific research, as well as Essam Sharaf, former prime minister.
More than 1200 students showed off over 250 projects. Among the highlights were an electronic voting machine, aimed at preventing fraud; a “hexacopter,” a six-rotor remote-controlled helicopter; a wireless system for underwater communication that relies on lasers to send text and pictures; and portable electrocardiogram equipment.
Students participated in the Made in Egypt Undergraduates Competition, whose goal was to come up with a breakthrough technology that could be manufactured in the country. Thirty teams made it to the final judging round, and the top five entries were announced at the closing ceremony. The winning projects include an aerial vehicle that can discover landmines and an electric grid that allows users to have customized power cutoff during peak hours.
In another contest, the IEEE Egypt Section’s Future City Competition, students—under the guidance at their schools of a teacher and a volunteer engineer—had created their vision of a future metropolis, working first with software and then building 3-D scale models. The top 10 finalists presented their work at the closing ceremony.
Representatives from 67 companies including Cisco, IBM Egypt, Intel, Ericsson, Google, and Vodafone, described their firms’ research and offered career guidance. Topics included the Internet of Things, industrial machine vision, green energy, trends in business analytics and in telecommunications research, and the challenges of developing embedded control applications. Other presentations covered increasing the number of women in engineering, entrepreneurship in Egypt, and how to find the right job.
Ibrahim says that what the students learned from the presentations—and the opportunity to network with each other—left them with far more than a positive impression. “We hope we have helped them get on the right path to make their engineering dreams come true,” he says.