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Parks College Celebrates National Engineers Week 2022


Saint Louis University's Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology celebrated National Engineers Week, or "E-Week" as it is commonly known among students and faculty, with a variety of events and activities Feb. 21-25. 

Parks College was full of celebration for the first in-person Engineers Week (E-Week) since 2020.  After a mostly virtual E-Week in 2021, the college’s students, staff and faculty participated in community-building and inspiring events.

Students take park in a drone obstacle course as part of National Engineers Week. Submitted Photo.

Students take park in a drone obstacle course as part of National Engineers Week. Submitted Photo.

The kick-off to E-Week was a T-Shirt Drop, where staff and faculty tossed free shirts from the second story of the Rotunda to waiting students below. This unique giveaway format was initially held in 2021 to accommodate for social distance guidelines and returned in 2022 as a favorite among students. 

In preparation for the University-wide Virtual Career Fair held on Wednesday, Feb. 23, E-week included professional development opportunities for students. On Tuesday, Aaron Pelloquin, Parks College’s Career Services Counselor, held workshop sessions to discuss the importance of well being and balance in planning careers, while also providing time for students to ask questions and get advice on resumes and cover letters.  Throughout Tuesday afternoon, students could also wear their professional clothes to receive a professional head shot. Sue Ratz, Parks College’s Marketing Manager, took head shots of students within McDonnell Douglas Hall and were emailed their photos for professional use.

E-Week also included events that focused on peer-to-peer engagement. Throughout Tuesday, the AirCRAFT Lab’s graduate students took over the Rotunda with a drone obstacle course.  Students, staff and faculty stopped by to test their flight skills in the course and challenge one another to drone races. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Parks hosted a special E-Week Innovation Challenge.  Teams of students were given seemingly random materials: Popsicle sticks, string, balloons, water bottles, and tape, and challenged to build a device that would launch a ping pong ball through a hoop suspended in the Rotunda’s atrium.  The winning team, a group of flight science students, successfully launched three ping pong balls through the hoop with their creation and won $600.

E-week events concluded on Friday with some sweet treats and notes of appreciation. Students stopped by the Rotunda to use provided stationary to write letters to faculty and mentors. 

Friday also included a focus on community development, as Parks College hosted an Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Virtual Field Trip for middle school and high school-aged students from seven high schools in St. Louis and one class from Cleveland, OH. Made possible through grant funding by the American Association of University Women, classes were shipped activity supplies ahead of the event to be completed during the webinar.

Students logged on first for a presentation on, “What is Engineering?” by senior biomedical engineering student, Ingrid Rosko.  Then, the webinar transported students to SLU’s WATER Institute, where they learned about civil engineering and, from their individual classrooms, constructed natural water filters with instruction from WATER Institute faculty and staff, Amanda Cox, PhD, Sofie Liang and Rachel Rimmerman.  Each student group learned to calculate their filter’s flow rate and were encouraged to discuss the components of efficiency.

Next, the CHROME Lab’s Jenna Gorlweicz, Ph.D., led a presentation about the lab’s work to make technology accessible. CHROME Lab research scientist, Jen Tennison, PhD, and graduate student Maya Dunlap, then constructed tabletop crab robots in real time with attendees.  The CHROME Lab even supplied googly eyes for students to personalize their robots!

For the final session, biomedical engineering faculty member, Natasha Case, Ph.D., taught students about opportunities in prosthetics and similar career paths in the field.  Three biomedical engineering graduate students, Alyssa Paoli, Allison Brown and Sam Stealey,  also joined to answer questions on a panel about their experiences in engineering.  To conclude the event, students were challenged to construct their own “prosthetic hand” from straws, string, Popsicle sticks and similar items that could grab and hold various classroom items.  

In all, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day Virtual Field Trip reached over 200 students live on Friday and showcased many role models in engineering at SLU.  The recording of the event is also available now on YouTube for additional classes to review and utilize in classroom activity.

E-Week events scheduled for Thursday were postponed due to the winter weather that hit St. Louis.  This included an E-Week Keynote Address by Parks Alum (Andrew Lang, ‘09), which will be rescheduled for Thursday, March 31. Parks College will email out invitations to the community when details are finalized.