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Berks celebrates history through National Engineers Week

In observation of National Engineers Week, Feb. 20–26, 2011, Penn State Berks has a variety of events and activities planned. The college's roots are in the field of engineering. Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute (WPI), the forerunner of the college, began as a training center for workers of Textile Machine Works in Reading. WPI provided workers with a solid background in engineering, as well as other technical fields of study.

Feb. 21, 12:00¬2:30 p.m., Perkins Student Center Lions Den, Engineering Student Open Forum Panel Discussion.

The panel discussion will provide open dialog between engineers from local companies and students. Topics such as career paths will be discussed and lunch will be provided. The panelists include Lisa Peterson, Brentwood Industries, Inc.; Larry Grybosky, SSM Group, Inc.; Denise Alston, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; Robert Correll, retiree from AMP, Inc.; and Wendy Body, Alvin H. Butz, Inc. For more information or to register, contact Jeff Wike, Electrical Laboratory Supervisor, at 610-396-6202.

  • Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m., GoggleWorks in Reading
  • Feb. 25, 8:30 a.m., West Allegheny High School in Imperial, PA

Project Lead the Way Design Challenge

Students from high schools and middle schools across the state will gather at the GoggleWorks in Reading on Feb. 23, and at West Allegheny High School in Imperial, PA on Feb. 25. The challenge is open to the public, and it will be followed by an awards ceremony.

Students arrive at the design challenge armed with only a laptop computer and their intellectual skills. They are then given a bag of common materials, a design brief, and two-and-a half hours to design, construct, and test the subject of the design brief. A panel of outside judges evaluates each team as they present not only their final solution but also the process they used to arrive at their solution. Each year, the actual project is a closely guarded secret until the students arrive at the competition site. Projects from previous contests included solar powered cars and wind turbines.

"This event gives PLTW students the chance to use the skills they have learned in their foundation courses to solve a real-life problem. Many schools concentrate on athletic competition; the PLTW Design Challenge gives academic students a chance for inter-scholastic competition," says Tom Weiss, affiliate director of Project Lead the Way at Penn State Berks.

Project Lead The Way is a national non-profit organization that works in partnership with public middle and high schools to implement a curriculum that emphasizes hands-on experiences in engineering, design, and technology. PTLW aims to attract an increasingly more diverse group of students to become the next generation of scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians and help America compete favorably in the global economy. PLTW is the nation’s leading activities-, project-, and problem-based program for middle and high school STEM education. More than 300,000 students are currently engaged in PLTW classes in nearly 4,000 schools. For additional information, contact Tom Weiss, PLTW PA Affiliate Director at Penn State Berks, via e-mail at tsw10@psu.edu or visit the PLTW PA web site: www.pltwpa.org.

  • Feb. 25, 1:00–2:30 p.m., Freyberger Gallery, Reception for engineering students who participated in the Steampunk Workshop. Light refreshments will be served.
  • Feb. 25, 1:15–2:00 p.m., field in front of Luerssen Building, Engineering Week Design Challenge

Students will present the results of a competition to build a projectile-firing siege machine (catapult), and will compete based on accuracy, range, and design complexity. The students will compete in teams, using only the materials provided and authorized by the committee. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

For more information about the Engineers Week events, contact Jeff Wike at 610-396-6202.
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