Ryan Chartrand

Cal Poly will be turned into an engineering student’s playground next week as everything from industry professionals to sumo wrestlers converge for National Engineers Week.

Celebrated Monday through Friday in several locations on campus, National Engineers Week gives Cal Poly’s aspiring engineers an opportunity to network with major corporations and a chance to cut loose.

“It’s a cool idea, especially in the fifth week when everyone is in midterm mode. To have different speakers and have some fun stuff, it’s a nice diversion,” said civil engineering senior David Campbell.

In the week’s biggest event next Wednesday, Pat Byrne, president of Agilent Technologies’ electronics management group, will speak in the Advanced Technology Lab from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sixteen company representatives will also be present to speak with students.

“It’s a really big deal. How often do you get to meet such an important person from such a big company? Not very often. It speaks volumes about how great Cal Poly engineering is,” said Paula Ergueta, chair of the engineering student council and industrial engineering senior.

The same day at 5:30 p.m., Kathleen Holmgren, Cal Poly alumna and former vice president of Sun Microsystems, will speak about her experiences as an engineer. A free barbecue and an iPod giveaway will also take place during the day.

Festivities kick off Monday with a blood drive on Mott Lawn from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At 6 p.m., a free bowling and pizza event will take place at McPhee’s in the University Union.

Also Tuesday, College of Engineering Dean Mohammad Noori will speak in the Graphic Arts Building.

Throughout the week, engineering students will talk with students and demonstrate experiments in fourth-grade classrooms across San Luis Obispo County as part of “Fourth Grade Days,” a program sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers.

“It’s great. The children are really excited to see all the displays. It really gets them interested in what an engineer is and how creative it can be,” said Ergueta, who participated in the program last year.

On Tuesday, students will have a chance to take out some aggression on their instructors during the “Dunk a Professor” event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dexter Lawn. Students can also sumo wrestle with their friends during the event. All proceeds will be donated to Engineers Without Borders, an organization that has created water filtration and tsunami relief projects in Nicaragua, Thailand and Indonesia.

Rodrigo Merino, National Engineers Week chair and industrial engineering senior, said this year’s festivities are the largest in Cal Poly’s history.

“We feel that in the past, National Engineers Week wasn’t as big of a deal as we’d like it to be,” Merino said. “We’re hoping this year it will be a bigger turnout and create more excitement.”

Founded in 1951, National Engineers Week is a nationwide event that incorporates more than 75 engineering, professional and technical societies and 50 corporations and government agencies.

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