The Golden Gate Bridge. The clean water you drink every day. The very building you’re sitting or standing in.

Without engineers, none of it would be possible. Which is why the nation pauses to recognize them every February, as part of Engineers Week, Feb. 21-27. The goal of the weeklong celebration is to not only celebrate engineering, but to also encourage students to consider engineering as a career path, and highlight the important role engineers play in society. This year’s theme, “Engineers Make a World of Difference,” emphasizes the nation and world’s need for engineers.

“Engineers help shape the ways we live on this shared planet,” said Leslie Collins, executive director of DiscoverE. “They are instrumental in how we communicate, travel and treat disease, to name just a few examples. But, engineering is often referred to as the ‘stealth profession.’ The best of engineering is utilitarian. It’s visible but engineers are not. Engineers Week is a time to shine a light on the people who turn ideas into reality.”

The weeklong celebration began 65 years ago in 1951 as an outreach of the National Society of Professional Engineers. DiscoverE, formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation, aims to “sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration and volunteerism,” not only during Engineers Week each February, but all year long.

“DiscoverE mobilizes, supports, and connects thousands of volunteers in engineering and technology as they work within their communities in education outreach,” Collins said. “Engineers Week is a focal point as we work throughout the year. Introducing students, parents, educators and other members of our communities to what engineers do and the excitement of the profession is critical to our future well-being.”

This year, DiscoverE is shining the spotlight on the importance of women in the field of engineering with Girl Day, Feb. 25. Educators and parents are encouraged to share with young women how engineering is all about curiosity, creativity, teamwork, opportunities and helping others.

“Women have been woefully underrepresented in engineering and technology,” Collins said. “Yet they are well represented in medicine and law. Part of the problem is that – getting back to the stealth issue – there hasn’t been a really good way for girls to be connected to women engineer role models. They haven’t been introduced to engineering at all. Through DiscoverE programs such as ‘Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day,’ we have found that girls respond enthusiastically when they are given the appropriate messages and understand that engineering is a profession that is empowering, challenging, offers a broad scope of career choices and provides a platform for women to make a difference in the world. With so many global challenges, we must include women in engineering the solutions.”

Global Day of the Engineer, Feb. 24, which calls on communities across the world to not only celebrate engineers and their innovations, but to also provide students with a glimpse inside the career field, further emphasizes this year’s theme.

“Engineers’ work has global impact and often engineers work in global teams,” Collins said. “This year DiscoverE is especially excited to be introducing a campaign called Global Day of the Engineer on Feb. 24. Many of our outreach programs have been replicated around the globe. This is an opportunity for engineers everywhere to come together to celebrate and reach out in their communities.”

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