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Clarkson celebrates National Engineers Week


POTSDAM — By celebrating National Engineers Week, Clarkson University is basically giving itself a pat on the back.

That’s because engineering students make up more than half of the Potsdam campus’s enrollment. Out of 3,018 undergraduates on campus, more than 1,600 are engineering students, said Goodarz Ahmadi, Dean of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering.

“There are a couple hundred graduate students, too,” he said. “It is a major effort here. In the past we have done small-scale things, but we wanted to encourage them to do more and this really took off, with students doing most of the work.”

This is the first week-long celebration at Clarkson; the school previously recognized National Engineers Week with one day of events, said Elisabeth A. Chipman, an engineering instructor.

“It is the first time that we’ve tried to line up and link together the disparate activities that are going on on campus and make it a bigger celebration,” she said. “We learned there were a lot of things going on. They might serve to draw the engineering community out of their dorm rooms and get them involved.”

The school uses the week as an opportunity to guide students who have not selected a discipline into one of the its nine engineering majors, said senior mechanical engineering major Shannon N. Wrede.

“I remember being a freshman and having no idea which engineering major to pick,” she said. “I think we decided that a day was just not enough to get in everything we wanted students to know about each major.”

Ms. Wrede said scavenger hunts hosted by the student groups will help underclassmen become acclimated to Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing, or CAMP, where most of the engineering departments’ labs are housed.

“It is great how every engineering major has come together and come up with clues,” she said. “It literally takes them through all of CAMP, it takes them through all the laboratories, they will be looking for certain offices. It gets them into the areas where they will be taking their classes.”

The week’s activities, organized by discipline, were planned by the student groups.

Frack Action founder Julia Walsh, New Paltz, will present “What the Frack?”, a talk discussing the perils and potential for the exploration of natural gas deposits using hydraulic fracturing in New York, in the student center multi-purpose rooms Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Canadian violinist Adrian Anantawan will perform Friday at 4 p.m. in the CAMP Atrium. Mr. Anantawan, born without a right hand, will also discuss how rehabilitation engineering helped him develop into an acclaimed performer who has played in front of presidents, popes and at the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.

“He has a minor in bioengineering, that particular person is an expert in this area and an expert violinist,” said Mr. Ahmadi. “I am curious to see what he has to say.”

The public, if interested, is welcome to any or all of the activities.

“It is for anyone who wants to participate, especially if it is high school seniors and juniors interested in engineering,” said Ms. Wrede. “If they are interested I say come on over, our doors are open.”

Today at 6 p.m., chemical engineering students will host a panel discussion at the Student Center Forum.

On Wednesday, mechanical and aeronautical engineering students will hold a paper airplane design competition in the CAMP Atrium from 1 to 5 p.m.

Thursday, electrical and computer engineering students will hold lab demonstrations and a panel discussion in CAMP 195 at 6 p.m.

Friday, the Center for Rehabilitation Science and Technology will present tours of the Nanoengineering and Biotechnology Laboratories Center, or NABLAB, from 1-2 p.m.

On Sunday, chemical engineering students are sponsoring a snow structure design and testing contest on the lawn bounded by Cheel Arena and CAMP at 10 a.m. Hot chocolate will be served after the event.

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