National Engineers Week at UMass Amherst to be Celebrated Feb. 19-25

AMHERST, Mass. - There will be several stories and photo opportunities in conjunction with National Engineers Week at the University of Massachusetts next week:

* Saturday, Feb. 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., the civil and environmental engineering department is hosting the regional steel bridge competition in the Student Union Ballroom. The 400-pound, 22-foot long bridges are assembled and tested by each school''s team. Each bridge must carry 2,500 pounds of weight. In addition to UMass, the ten New England competitors include schools such as University of Connecticut, University of Vermont, University of Maine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. UMass students will build and test their bridge 2-2:30 p.m. The top two teams will advance to the national steel bridge competition.

* Wednesday, Feb. 23 at noon in the Fine Arts Center, the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers is hosting a paper airplane contest. This year''s event is open to the public; airplanes will be flown from the balcony of the Fine Arts Center. Registration is $1 per entry. For more information and to register, contact Nathaniel Mulcahy at

* Friday, Feb. 25 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Gunness Student Center, Marcus Hall, two engineering student societies will host a mini-vehicle design and accuracy contest. Entries are judged on point-to-point accuracy over a 15- foot distance; the cars can be made with rubber-band motors or other non-fuel motors. This event is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, contact Matt Podkowka at

* On Friday, Feb. 25 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in 19 Gunness Laboratory, seniors in MIE 497A, Design Projects to Aid the Disabled, will present their two-semester projects. Design projects include a terrain master and hill climber, and three components for wheelchairs - a retrofitable bumper, an intelligent seat, and a collapsible/retractable tray.

Reporters are also welcome to attend the following lecture:

* Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m., mechanical engineering alumnus Donald St. Peter (''88) will discuss "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Investment Strategies for People Starting Out." St. Peter, now a vice president with Fidelity Investment will share his professional and personal experiences on savings and investment strategies. The talk is free and open to the public, and will take place in the Gunness Engineering Student Center, Marcus Hall.

National Engineers Week is an annual event that increases public awareness and appreciation of engineers and their work. This year''s program is sponsored by GE Plastics, Precision Tectonix, J & E Precision Tool, JEOL USA, EMC2 Corporation, i2 Technologies, Lee Pearlmutter, and Eric Thorgerson. For more information and a complete schedule of Engineers Week events, contact Karen Skolfield at 413/545-6392 or