Congressman Lipinski Recognizes National Engineers Week02/15/2011
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
As one of only a handful of engineers in Congress, I'm proud again to sponsor a resolution honoring our nation's engineers during National Engineers Week. This is my sixth year introducing this resolution and it has a special significance this year.
Next week will mark the 60th anniversary of Engineers Week. And with nearly half of the practicing engineers in our country eligible to retire over the next few years, the central goal of engineers week -- attracting new students to engineering careers -- has never been more important. That's why educating and inspiring America's youth about engineering and science needs to be a national priority.
Engineers design and build all of our everyday products such as bridges, airplanes, roads, computers, medical devices, cars, and power plants, just to name a few. But engineering is more than that. Engineering is problem solving. We have many problems to solve, from our dependence on foreign oil to our crumbling infrastructure. And as a recent National Academy of Engineering report explained, while only 4% of our nation's work force is composed of engineers and scientists, this group disproportionately creates jobs for the other 96%. America's 2.5 million engineers have helped make our country great by solving problems in turning dreams into reality. And America's future depends on them. Unfortunately, often times their contributions go unnoticed.
National Engineers Week seeks to fix this problem through events aimed at educating youth and fostering public awareness of the vital contributions made by engineers to our quality of life and our economic prosperity. Engineers Week promotes recognition among parents, teachers, and students of the importance of STEM education and literacy.
This year's theme is “Engineers Make a World of Difference: A Celebration of Engineer Volunteerism.” It recognizes the more than one million hours annually that American engineers contribute to public service. Celebratory events, including the Future City Competition, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, and Discover Engineering Family Day, all impart an appreciation of the wonders of engineering to our children of all backgrounds.
I can attest to my own childhood experiences with science and engineering and how they captivated me. I remember in high school, my calculus and physics teachers, especially Father Thul and Father Fergus. They helped mold my childhood fascination into an interest in engineering. These teachers, together with informal experiences at places like the Museum of Science and Industry, and even at the Brookfield Zoo, helped motivate me to pursue an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and then a Master’s degree in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University.
One of the central goals of National Engineers Week is to provide this kind of inspiration for the next generation of students. During engineers week in Chicago, I will be attending the Engineers Week celebratory dinner where they will give the Washington award to a professor from Purdue University and will honor students who have made contributions in engineering through the Future Cities projects. I'd like to encourage all of my colleagues to co-sponsor this resolution, to go home, find some Engineers Week celebrations that are going on and participate in your districts. This is a great opportunity for us to thank the engineers who will contribute so much to our country and inspire that next generation of engineers that our country so terribly needs to solve the problems that face us today. Thank you, I yield back the balance of my time.