Engineering an expo

February, already checked full of celebrations, has yet another. The College of Engineering’s annual expo, which runs today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., honors both the College of Engineering’s 40th anniversary and National Engineer’s Week. The expo itself is in its 33rd year.

“The expo is important because the number and quality of engineering in our country directly affects the innovations and technology development in our country,” said Expo Faculty Adviser and engineering professor Dr. Paul McCright, who added that the activities are geared toward young students. “We feel exposing young students to the excitement and creativity of engineering careers will help stimulate their interests.”

The percentage of students pursuing careers in engineering has been dropping in recent years, McCright said.

“This is the whole reason the expo started,” McCright said. “We hope the students will choose to pursue (an engineering degree) at USF.”

Covering almost the entire complex, the events include tours, exhibits and competitions.

“All the events we are doing this year are tied into celebrating the anniversary,” McCright said, specifically the College of Engineering History Exhibit, made up of old photos and equipment used by engineers.

“The items showcase engineering history and the history of the College of Engineering.”

The Urban Search and Rescue Robot demonstration will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Designed by Dr. Robin Murphy of the engineering department, the robots were used in the Sept. 11 recovery efforts.

“They drove up there and stayed 11 days searching in the rubble for survivors,” McCright said. “They got worldwide acclaim for the university.”

Jamerson Elementary School from St. Petersburg is a returning exhibit from last year. One of four elementary engineering magnet schools in the country, the students will exhibit how they integrate engineering education at that level, McCright said. “To me that is really special, here we are a college and we are showing what an elementary school does.”

McCright looks forward to a good turnout.

“A pure estimate: I expect three to four thousand school-age K-12 students on Friday,” he said. “On Friday about 2,000 general public.”