Engineering Seminar

On Thursday, February 23, 2012, the Institute of Science & Technology at the Overland-Prairie Campus was proud to host the third in a series of career-related seminars for elementary, middle, and high-school students to consider a variety of college and career paths.

The Engineering Seminar coincided with National Engineering Week and included six presentations on topics ranging from civil engineering to database engineering.

Kristi Gemperline and some of her colleagues from Colorado State University represented the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). They discussed the importance of water filtration for removing contaminants from our drinking water. Students participated in a hands-on activity in which they filtered dirty water through a homemade filter. When the water ran through layers of rock, gravel, sand, and cotton, most of the debris had been removed.

Representing the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) were two students from Colorado State University. Kristin Erickson and a colleague from the CSU Biomedical Engineering Club outlined the different facets to their field of study. Biomedical engineers work on projects such as creating artificial organs and stem-cell research. The field projects a 72% employment growth for the future has opportunities for students to make an impact in people’s lives.

Engineer Bill Long represented the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and spoke to the group about ceramics and materials engineering. He demonstrated a Kevlar-fiber that is used to create protective gear that might be worn by soldiers or police officers. This ceramic armor is relatively lightweight and allows for more freedom of movement. Students interested in studying materials engineering can find programs at CU or Colorado School of Mines.

Gabriel Draper and Andre Demitri of the University of Colorado Boulder spoke on behalf of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). These two college students fielded questions about chemical engineering, college life, and the importance of encouraging diverse students to pursue careers in engineering. They advised students to organize themselves by sticking to a schedule and to work hard at what they do.

Debi Parcheta, CEO of Blue Marble Enterprises Inc., educated students about database engineering. She began with a survey for students to assess their organizational skills and study habits to determine how suited they were for this field of study. She went on to astonish the group at how online data from sites like Facebook and Twitter can be collected and used to gather information about them. Debi encouraged students to be serious about school, have a career goal, develop their skills, and never stop learning.

Keynote speaker Marcos Stephens concluded the day by discussing computer science and engineering. Stephens is the Manager of Training Programs for the Ground Systems Business Unit of Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Information Systems Sector here in Denver. He has been recognized as a 2011 Black Engineer of the Year Award winner in the area of Educational Leadership and received his award at the USBE 25th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

Stephens’s advice for students was three-fold: P.I.E. – Performance, Image, and Exposure. Their performance in school is of utmost importance; there is no substitute for hard work. The image they project to the world matters, too; they should be conscious of the way they dress and behave. Finally, they should be exposed to as many different ideas as possible to have a broad understanding of many topics. “Apply your dreams,” he told the audience, “and create something the world can use.”