This item originally appeared in the April 22, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By JULIE MILLER
Deborah Wells kicked off her 8:45 a.m. presentation for Engineer's Day last Thursday with a PowerPoint slide of a space launch.
Wells was the keynote speaker for the 59th annual E-Day, where about 400 area high school students visited campus for a glimpse of engineering at the university.
"I think my career was selected for me a long time before I was born," Wells said during her speech.
The day began with Wells, a 1987 Tech graduate of biomedical engineering, talking about the path that led her to her current career as laboratory manager for Bionetics Corporation in Melborne, Fla.
The company she works for contracts its services to NASA, and Wells recently received the Space Coast Outstanding Woman Engineer of the Year Award for 2003.
After showing a picture of her hometown, Alexandria, from space, Wells went on to discuss her experience working with astronauts and space flights.
Zach Binns, a senior at Ruston High School, said he enjoyed the speaker.
"It was good to see how she went from this school, where we'll be attending, to Kennedy Space Center," Binns said. "It is encouraging to see how someone who came from this campus made it big."
Wells ended her presentation by asking the students to finish the statement "If money were no obstacle, someday É " The room of potential Tech students looked around at each other, contemplating the answer.
After the dismissal from the lecture, the high school students were sectioned into groups and given campus tours by engineering students.
"I've been wondering what engineers do exactly," Binns said. "So, seeing the display booths and actually going into the engineer building was cool."
Students were challenged by the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers at the Egg Drop Competition later in the afternoon.
NSBE president Wayne Ward, a senior mechanical engineering major, said they have had this competition for many years as a freshman recruitment activity.
"They always have fun," Ward said.
Kristy Freeman, president of SWE and a senior mechanical engineering major, said the goal of the competition was to have fun and gain knowledge about engineering.
"The teams had to use only the materials in the bags we provided for them and construct a carrier for an egg," she said.
Once the carriers were assembled, SWE members dropped the eggs from the upper level of the Student Center to see if they would break.
Daniel Carr, president of LTEA and a junior chemical engineering major, said Engineer's Day was a success.
"The goal is to educate high school students about what engineering is and how we do it at Tech," Carr said. "I think the students had fun."