On Monday, students in the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design displayed rockets, telescopes and rovers to kick off Yale’s third annual Engineers Week.
The week includes discussions about Women in STEM, an undergraduate organization exposition, a career panel and a Google information session, among others. This year, the week is hosted for the first time by the new undergraduate organization Catalyst at Yale, which acts as an umbrella organization for many undergraduate engineering organizations. According to Isabella Quagliato, the program manager at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, past Engineers Weeks were led by graduate students or administration officials like herself.
Student organizer Catherine Brock ’16, who had not heard of Engineers Week until she began organizing the programming, said that in past years, those running the week had difficulty reaching out to students. This year, though, they are hoping to reach a wider audience, including non-engineering students, she said. While the organizers’ goals were to expand the presence of the engineering community on campus and provide a better platform for engineering undergraduate organizations to receive recognition, students who attended the opening ceremonies said they had failed to attract students who were not already involved in the engineering community. According to Brock, students and administrators also had a “different vision” about what the week was intended to do.
“They wanted to market mainly to engineering students, and they were a little out of touch with what students would enjoy going to,” Brock said. “They wanted to have a panel of graduate students talking about their research while we preferred having people from industry come in.”
But Quagliato said there was no hesitation on the part of the administration to open up Engineers Week to the broader Yale community and that in past years, they invited industry leaders for career panels. This year, students and the administration compromised and brought in professors, who Quagliato said have experience in industry and academia, for their career panel.
On Monday, over 20 students attended the opening ceremony and student exposition in the CEID. But Yale University Aerospace Association member Ethan Weinberger ’18 noted that most of the students in attendance were required to be there to display their work.
Of the students attending the event, some were initially there to do homework in the CEID. Still, Vincent Wilczynski, director of the CEID and deputy dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, said the opening event is no indicator of the week’s success. In past years, signature talks drew in more than 150 attendees.
Some students, who had never heard about Engineers Week before this year, noticed an encouraging amount of hype leading up to the week.
“I noticed how much work is being put into this [week], so there was no way I wasn’t going to attend,” attendee Jesus Caro ’16 said. “I sometimes feel like there aren’t a lot of engineering events here, so I thought if there is finally an engineering specific event, I should attend.”
Student organizer Evan Doyle ’17 said one of the greatest challenges in organizing the events was collaborating with all the student groups, which they aimed to do in order to have the highest amount of student participation possible.
“This week is important for Yale engineering, but all of the people here are already engineers. We don’t need that,” Dante Archangeli ’17. “We need everyone in the Yale community and the academic community to realize that Yale engineering exists and is strong.”
The next event, a talk by MIT professor Rodney Cole, on “Integrating Unmanned Aircraft Systems Safely into the National Airspace System,” takes place at 1 p.m. today in the Mann Student Center on the first floor of Dunham Laboratory.