Engineering school’s E-Week draws students, faculty and alumni from across the world

Week-long activity celebrates the achievements of engineers at CWRU

Kevin Pataroque, Staff Reporter

From Feb. 15 to Feb. 19, the student-run organization Case Engineering Council (CEC) hosted this year’s Engineers Week (E-Week), “A Single Action Can Cause a Chain Reaction,” to celebrate and raise public awareness for the achievements of Case Western Reserve University engineers of all disciplines. Throughout the week, thousands of students, faculty and other engineers were invited to 13 virtual or in-person, socially-distanced events, hosted by both student-run and professional organizations, focused on building community within the engineering school and facilitating networking.

The first E-Week in the United States was organized in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) to give students more exposure to engineering by hosting activities for potential engineers to exercise their math and science abilities. Soon after, colleges across the country began to incorporate E-Week in their own campuses. Although campuses hosted these events as a way to promote engineering, E-Week became an event to highlight the importance of the field and celebrate the achievements of engineers across the country.

At CWRU, E-Week is organized by both engineering faculty and students. As the marketing chair of the CEC, Nate Perez, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, took the lead in advertising this year’s E-Week.

“[E-Week] allows our different engineering student orgs to collaborate both with each other and with the faculty [and] staff of CWRU on a different scale than any regular events would allow. It takes a lot of effort and coordination between so many people to orchestrate a successful E-Week, and it’s a great way to practice these kinds of professional communication skills and responsibilities,” said Perez.

E-Week events were quite diverse. Some events, such as The Engineering Game: Student, Faculty, and Alumni Showdown and the Campus Scavenger Hunt, were trivia-style events. Others, such as the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable (WISER) Light Bulb Drop and the Engineering Challenges Carnival, were hands-on engineering challenges that students of all disciplines could take part in. 

“In the case of the Game Show, we got to see the more informal, relaxed and excited side of our professors, regardless of whether we were planning it or simply viewing it,” said Perez. Although some of the traditional activities were conducted in a remote space due to COVID-19, the event still drew participants from across thirteen countries. 

Marc Buchner, an associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who was one of the faculty responsible for planning E-Week, felt that this year’s event succeeded in celebrating the achievements of engineers in an enjoyable and engaging manner. He noted that, in the digital era, technology is integrated in every aspect of our lives. Cross-collaboration between electrical engineers, computer scientists and other engineers responsible for the material design and processing of a laptop or a smartphone, for example, have enabled this article to be accessible in a digital format.

At the same time, feats of engineering can, quite literally, be out-of-this world. Just a few weeks ago, on Feb. 18, the rover Perseverance landed on Mars. In a short span of time, photos were transmitted by the rover approximately 38 million miles away from Mars to Earth and distributed to millions of observers waiting in their homes. 

“The impact of engineering on our lives is phenomenal,” said Buchner. With how easy and accessible most pieces of technology are for the average consumer, it’s easy to take these accomplishments for granted. These celebrations during E-week prove to be validating for engineers at CWRU, but as Buchner notes, hosting these events reintroduces a feeling of awe and wonder for all, engineer or English major, at how far we have come.