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Berks celebrated history through National Engineers Week

Engineering Students

In observation of National Engineers Week, Feb. 16–22, 2014, Penn State Berks celebrated its past while preparing students for the future through a variety of events and activities.

Building on its roots in the field of engineering, Wyomissing Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was the forerunner institution of Penn State Berks. WPI began as a training center for workers of Textile Machine Works in Reading and provided a solid background in engineering, as well as other technical fields of study. Many leaders of local industry are graduates of WPI.

Today, Penn State Berks is recognized as the premier engineering college in Berks County. The college recently added a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering to its engineering programs, which includes a B.S. in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology. Penn State Berks is the only college in Berks County to offer degree programs in engineering, and all programs are taught in the college’s state-of-the-art Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building.

National Engineers Week kicked off with the fifth annual Celebrating Women in Engineering Luncheon, sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers student chapter on Monday, Feb. 17. The keynote speaker was Caitlin Rye Banta of Brentwood Industries. On Wednesday, the college held a second Engineering Luncheon and Panel Discussion with representatives from local industry who discussed their career paths, including Travis Getz, Reading Bakery; Lisa Peterson, Brentwood Industries; Dan Osle, Lutron; and Brian Roth, Teleflex.
The Institute of Industrial Engineering–Reading Chapter hosted a dinner event with keynote speaker Donald Dagen ’90, Account Manager and Business Development Manager for ONExia on Thursday evening. Dagen’s presentation was titled “Collaborative Robotics Implementation in Manufacturing Facilities.” This event also featured a live demonstration of BAXTER, a collaborative robot.

The week culminated with several events including an Engineering Showcase in which students had the opportunity to visit display booths, meet with representatives from local engineering companies, and discuss career opportunities in the engineering field. Participants included member companies of the Industrial Advisory Committee and companies partnering in the college’s Learning Factory. Penn State Berks students also participated in a mini trebuchet design contest.

One of the highlights of the week was the “Maker Event,” held in conjunction with Lancoberksmakers on Friday evening. This was an informal fair of an eclectic group of "makers," which drew a wide and diverse audience of students, parents, entrepreneurs, educators, and community leaders.

Penn State Berks hopes to continue to expand its National Engineers Week events and activities. For more information or if you would like to get involved, contact Walt Fullam, Director of Continuing Education and Outreach, at 610-396-6225.