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Free activities highlight engineering, technical education at UAF

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902


The University of Alaska Fairbanks will host a full slate of free family-friendly events Saturday, Feb 21 during its annual Engineering Open House and 2009 Career Tech Expo.

All events start at 11 a.m. A free shuttle will run between the UAF Nenana parking lot across from the Patty Center, the Hutchison Institute of Technology on Geist Road and the Eielson Building.

Tanana Valley Campus' fourth annual Career Tech Expo 2009 will run until 2 p.m. at Hutchison. The event, held in partnership with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District and Alaska Department of Labor, highlights National Career and Technical Education Month and showcases the numerous educational and career opportunities available in technical-related fields. TVC and Hutchison High School shops and labs will be open and program faculty and employers from around the state will be on hand to promote technical careers available in Alaska. The event will also feature a variety of hands-on activities and door prizes.

The College of Engineering and Mines' annual engineering open house will run until 3 p.m. in the Duckering Building and Wood Center.

Engineering students, faculty members and organizations from the fields of civil, electrical, geological, mechanical, mining and petroleum engineering will host a variety of displays, interactive demonstrations and presentations geared for all ages. Visitors can pan for gold, eat electric hot dogs, watch a simulated earthquake and float marbles. Engineering students will talk about the ice arch currently under construction outside the Duckering Building and the UAF steel bridge team will display the 2008 bridge. Team members will speak about the bridge's design and the public will have a chance to tour the machine shop and watch a plasma cutter demonstration. During the open house, there will be stations set up for Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors to earn engineering badges while learning about different engineering fields.

Events in the Wood Center include the high school robotics state championships-the FIRST Tech Challenge. The event will include 13 teams from around the state competing for a slot at the national championships in Atlanta in April. Competition is a mixture of basketball and hockey, with four-robot teams retrieving plastic pucks and putting them in baskets. During the competition, spectators can take a break and participate in a scavenger hunt through the business and engineering firm booths set up in the Wood Center. Everyone who finishes the scavenger hunt will get a free ice cream float.

The open house takes place in conjunction with National Engineers Week, an annual event to increase public awareness and appreciation of engineers and their work and is sponsored locally by the Fairbanks chapter of the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers and Flint Hills Resources. All ages are welcome.

CONTACT: Michelle Renfrew, TVC marketing and community relations manager, at 907-455-2833 or fnmmr@uaf.edu. Ryan Smith, CEM recruitment coordinator, at 907-474-7390 or fnros@uaf.edu.