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The Show Must Go On: Engineers Day Moves Online, Welcomes Hundreds

Engineers Day has been a day of celebration, learning, and camaraderie at UT for 108 years now, continuing on despite two world wars, the Great Depression, and two global pandemics, including the ongoing fight against COVID-19.

While, like most things, it had to take on a different, fully virtual look, more than 1,000 students still registered for the day’s competitions, held online Thursday. Although the beloved Egg Drop was limited to a demonstration event only, participants enjoyed the Radiation Shielding Competition, Rocky Top Stand, Rube Goldberg Machine Competition, the Marshmallow Challenge, Virtual Bridge Design Competition, and Word Vacuum. The college is grateful to the many engineering student organizations that take on organizing and hosting responsibilities for each competition.

“We had to tap into our engineering Volunteer Spirit in the face of the challenges the pandemic threw at us, making changes and adjustments to where it might not have looked the same as in other years, but we stayed true to the essence and heart of the day,” said Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Ozlem Kilic. “We even launched a few firsts, like the first international participation and the first session for women in engineering. It was so great to see the spirit of area students who remained eager to take part, as well as the determination of our students, faculty, and staff to make the day a success.

“Together, we showed that the most contagious thing going around on our campus right now is actually our Volunteer Spirit and can-do attitude.”

Joel Seligstein, a 2006 graduate of the Min H. Kao Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, started the day with a keynote speech aimed at inspiring students to engage in engineering and science in order to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. While he would go on to found a startup investment firm and a mobile gaming company, Seligstein rose to prominence as a leader on the team that developed Facebook Messenger, helping show the audience how valuable an engineering degree from UT can be.

Following Seligstein’s remarks, students took part in the competitions and in a number of presentations, ranging from the importance of 4H to virtual tours of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.

This year’s Quiz Bowl was won by Hardin Valley Academy, with Lenoir City taking second place.

Students also got the chance to talk to various departments and college representatives about programs and avenues of support offered at UT.

Photo Galley

Check out a photo gallery from many of the events below.