‘Dreaming Big’ at Community Day
Watson School kicks off annual E-Week with over 400 from the community
Aspiring engineers dream big at The Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science annual Community Day in the Innovative Technologies Complex held Feb. 18. The event was the kickoff celebration for National Engineers Week.
Over 400 people engaged in an afternoon of learning, building and creating that featured student-led activities to engage children and families in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“It’s an incredible opportunity for current Watson students, as well as faculty and staff, to engage directly with local kids and get them excited about possibilities in the STEM fields,” said David Berman, assistant to the dean of Watson and head of the Community Day planning committee.
Community Day is a unique opportunity for local grade school students, parents, faculty, staff and students in the Watson School to come together.
“The kids have a lot of fun but they also learn a lot,” said Scott Craver, the father of a first grader at Horace Mann Elementary School. “I also think it’s a wonderful, important way that the University reaches out to the community.”
Participants got hands-on engineering experience as they built spaghetti towers, toured the 3D printing lab and made ghosts dance using the power of static electricity.
“We get to build whatever we want, just see if it works,” said Ethan, an eighth grader at Chenango Forks Middle School.
This year’s E-Week theme, “Engineers Dream Big,” focused on how engineering can turn creative, innovative ideas into reality. This creative spirit was what attracted Molly, a third grader at Chenango Valley Elementary School.
“I do love engineering and I thought [attending Community Day] gave me ideas for inventions,” she said.
A highlight of the day was the egg drop competition, hosted by the Pi Tau Sigma National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society. Competitors had 30 minutes to build a contraption that would protect an egg from breaking after a 15-foot fall. Participants lined the ITC Rotunda balcony and let their eggs fly, anxiously waiting to see if the passenger’s survived the plunge.
“The egg drop was my favorite, but the most disappointing because mine broke,” said Isaac, a fourth grader at Tioga Hills Elementary School.
A number of guests were excited to sample virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality headsets at a station sponsored by the Watson School’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
“I was most excited for VR,” Ethan said. “I had never tried it before. It was so cool.”