Discover five easy ways to “make a difference” during the 2014 Engineers Week, Feb. 16-22. Credit: YouTube 

Break out the party hats—it’s almost Engineers Week!

Next week (Feb. 16-22) is not only a time to celebrate the craft and contributions of engineers (round of applause!), but an opportunity to offer diverse and distinct activities that expose students, educators and parents to all that a career in engineering offers.

According to the discovere.org website, it’s also a time to promote the people and processes that make a difference in our everyday lives, making the 2014 theme, “Let’s Make a Difference,” particularly relevant.

The seven-day celebration, which not-so-coincidentally falls during the birth week of President George Washington (who, according to Wikipedia, is often considered the nation’s first engineer), was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NPSE) to increase understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. Today, it’s a formal partnership of 70-plus engineering, education, and cultural societies, along with 50 likeminded corporations and government agencies, sponsored by DiscoverE (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation).

It includes several special events, including Girl Day (Feb. 20), a day dedicated to “driving the conversation about girls and engineering,” and the Future City Competition, which targets middle-school students who, in working alongside an industry mentor, apply classroom concepts in planning and designing cities that solve common engineering problems. The video above (45 min) outlines five activities you can do to introduce engineering to your local community.

Most universities with engineering programs sponsor a variety of events during E-Week. Check your local university’s website for E-Week details.

To learn more about the week’s events or to download resources for your own Engineers Week bash, visit www.discovere.org.