Engineering Students Celebrate 2024 E-Week

Dean Magnus Egerstedt flips pancakes for engineering students at the E-Week Dean’s Breakfast.

March 21, 2024 - The Samueli School held its National Engineers Week celebration from Feb. 26 – March 1. Hosted by the Engineering Student Council (ESC), E-Week is an annual event aimed at increasing public awareness and appreciation for the engineering profession. Students, faculty, alumni and industry professionals joined various events and activities held throughout the week.

On Monday, engineering students headed to the student center for the E-Week Kick-Off Fair. Attendees posed at a beach-themed photobooth, picked up free T-shirts featuring the Engineering Plus logo and learned a dance with Dean Magnus Egerstedt for the annual lip dub to MKTO’s “Classic.” The event featured outreach booths from student clubs and organizations, honors societies and student design projects including the UCI Rocket Project, Engineers Without Borders and IEEE’s student chapter.

“I enjoy bringing all of the engineering departments together,” said Kristin Hagan, an ESC student involvement director and second-year biomedical engineering student. “Even students just here for the free T-shirt are exposed to involvement opportunities with engineering societies and projects.”

ESC Corporate Affairs Directors Marc Haddad (left) and Tim Oh coordinated the Networking Dinner Night to give engineering students an opportunity to receive one-on-one advice from industry professionals.

Tuesday evening’s Networking Night provided engineering students the chance to meet industry professionals from seven companies. Representatives from Boeing, Ducommun, Advantest and others shared their companies’ accomplishments, future plans and information about their local offices with students over BJ’s pizza. They offered students one-on-one advice about the qualities they value in engineers entering the job market.

“This is an opportunity for us to network with engineering students from a prestigious school,” said Farooq Khalid, a representative from Cadence Design Systems, an electronic systems design company. “Students build confidence at events like these.”

On Wednesday, Dean Magnus Egerstedt, and faculty members Lorenzo Valdevit and Faryar Jabbari, flipped chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes at the Dean’s Breakfast on Engineering Plaza. ESC members served the pancakes, fresh fruit and orange juice to a crowd of students, who then visited with project teams that were recruiting new members such as Anteater Racing and HyperXite.

“I really like being dean because no day is like the other, and I do a lot of different things,” said Dean Magnus Egerstedt. “Most of them I really enjoy, but my favorite is once a year flipping pancakes for our students at the E-Week Dean’s Breakfast.”

Local high school students toured labs and attended demonstrations at High School Shadow Day.

On Thursday, 110 high school students from University High, Trabuco Hills High and Santiago High participated in ESC’s High School Shadow Day. The students toured labs of the UCI Rocket Project, Anteater Racing, IEEE and HyperXite and attended demonstrations and talks from all six engineering departments.

“The opening up of student project labs was great because it allowed the high school students to interact with university students and gave them an idea of what is available to them,” said Mariana Ahmadi, an engineering and architecture teacher at Trabuco Hills High who has been taking her class to shadow day for 10 years. “I want it to spark their interest and help them see the possibilities.”

The LIFETank competition, modeled after the TV series Shark Tank, took place on Friday evening with eight teams of anteater entrepreneurs presenting designs for innovative products. The UCI ANTtrepreneur Center provided the teams with fabrication resources, product consultation services and open project-building space, and designs covered all areas of engineering. The winning team, UnlockIT, received $600 for their design for a device that can unlock dorm doors remotely by sending a signal from a mobile app.

“Our idea was to create a device that would allow students to remotely unlock their dorm door from the inside using their phone, eliminating the need for a keycard and making lockouts less of a problem,” said UnlockIT’s Kaushik Saravanan, a junior in computer engineering. “The current prototype only has the unlocking mechanism, but we hope to incorporate Bluetooth later on.”

Team UnlockIT won the LIFETank competition with their design for a device to remotely unlock dorm doors. Pictured, from left, are Seonu Chu, Kaushik Saravanan, Tara Minaie and Duy Tran.

The second-place team presented a quadcopter drone with carbon detection capabilities to assist in wildfire response, and the third-place team designed a continuous track modeled on tank tread for electric skateboards to use on rugged terrain.

After the competition, engineering students headed to Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa hotel to culminate the week’s celebration with the Engineering Ball. Students dressed up for the Hollywood theme and danced until 11p.m.

"Engineering Ball, which was hosted for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, had a sold-out venue full of exciting memories," said ESC president Ronit Shrestha. "We brought a lot of changes this year to the week, and I am very proud of how the team was able to bring these ideas to life."

– Lilith Christopher