UMBC’s third annual Engineers Week brought the campus community and corporate partners together for a celebration of the ways engineers contribute to society and the workforce. The week-long celebration was planned by UMBC’s engineering student groups, and included nearly a dozen special events to mark the national week.
“For this year’s Engineers Week, we wanted to expand the planning committee to include leaders from every engineering organization on campus,” explained Sean Najmi ‘17, chemical engineering, president of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honors society.
Brian Wayman ‘99, mechanical engineering, now program manager for GE Healthcare, delivered the opening remarks to kick off Engineers Week at UMBC. He shared stories about his personal, academic, and professional journeys.
As a student at UMBC, Wayman was involved with Tau Beta Pi and the National Society of Black Engineers, and held a series of internships that opened doors and had a major impact on his career trajectory. During his time at GE, Wayman has helped develop half a dozen products, including infant incubators, critical to the early lives of premature babies. Wayman detailed challenges he’s faced and difficult decisions he had to make throughout the course of his career, and offered advice for students now exploring their future professional pathways.
The week’s closing speaker was Dr. Arvind Krishna, senior vice president for hybrid cloud, and director of IBM Research. IBM is currently collaborating with UMBC on the Accelerated Cognitive Cybersecurity Lab. Krishna discussed the cognitive revolution and the rapid technological changes that the world has experienced. He explored how new technologies are not just helping humanity share information on a global scale, but are are solving major societal challenges, such as by reducing pollution, improving food safety, and strengthening banks.
Throughout the week, student organizations within the College of Engineering and Information Technology hosted events to highlight the breadth of opportunities and career paths available to UMBC students. A diversity forum gave students the opportunity to hear from industry professionals at Cisco, Northrop Grumman, and RMF Engineering. During the forum, panelists discussed and reflected on their experiences related to diversity in engineering.
The popular Battle of the Engineers event attracted a large, enthusiastic audience as teams of students from chemical, biochemical, and environmental engineering; computer science and electrical engineering; and mechanical engineering competed in whimsical and creative minute-to-win-it-style competitions. The CBEE team emerged victorious, and took home the 2017 Battle of the Engineers trophy.
Already, organizer Sean Najmi is looking ahead to drawing in student of all majors, including those outside of engineering, with an interest in collaboratively solving major global challenges and exploring diverse career paths. He shares, “My hope is that Engineers Week will soon become something the whole campus community looks forward to each year.”
Header image: Brian Wayman talks to students during the opening event during Engineers Week. All photos by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.