On Friday morning, thousands of high school students gathered at the Brown-Kopel Center to take part in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s ‘E Day,’ an event that has become a common sight on Auburn’s campus.
Held every spring, E Day gives students between 7th and 12th grade the opportunity to explore the College of Engineering’s various programs and student clubs, ask current university students questions and picture themselves as a future Tiger on the university’s campus. This year, it is estimated that more than 4,000 people attended the event, more than 2,500 of those being students.
For high school students like Eric Lewis, a sophomore at Carver High School in Montgomery, Alabama, the experience E Day provided proved to be valuable.
“Well, I think it's really interesting. This is my first time ever going. I'm part of FBLA [Future Business Leaders of America] at Carver Montgomery, so I was invited to come in. I think it's really cool and the campus is really nice,” Lewis said. “It's like everywhere you turn to something new to learn about. So I like it.”
Lewis, whose self-proclaimed favorite exhibit was an interactive sand and water model with sensors that manipulated the environment within, believed the event surpassed his preconceived notions.
“To be honest, I really imagined us just sitting down and someone just talking and talking and talking, but to know that we have hands-on activities, I like that,” Lewis said while taking in the outdoor presentations. “It actually went over my expectations.”
Those exhibits were developed and presented primarily by students enrolled in programs within the College of Engineering. According to Auburn student Ann Inskeep, junior in biosystems engineering, the ability to answer students' and parents’ questions while showcasing their work is a way to give back.
“This event has been great,” Inskeep said. “There's so many students here and it's really cool to see all these prospective students all coming in here together with one goal in mind and working with engineering and getting excited about their potential future and what they can get involved in.”
Inskee, who is involved with the student organization Engineers Without Borders, said she believed majoring in engineering opens the door to opportunities and allowed her to be involved with organizations that allow her to put her skills and passion to use for the greater good.
In particular, Inskee hoped to work in less-developed countries and develop humanitarian projects around the world after she graduates. That opportunity will come quickly as she plans to travel abroad later this year for a project associated with Engineers Without Borders.
“I really wanted to help the environment, help the planet, and have seen the impact in my work,” Inskee said when discussing why she chose to major in biosystems engineering. “I get to work on projects for that with water distribution systems and irrigation projects, and work on this here in Auburn and get to go travel to Bolivia and see what my project is in my hands.”
Students like Inskee are part of a larger collective effort to put E Day on every year. Spearheaded by Sydney Riley, the administrator of outreach for the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the event is important to the institution’s future success.
“We love E Day because it is a one-stop shop for students to get all their questions answered,” Riley said. “We have this event just so people can get all their questions answered at one time because it is hard to get here multiple times visiting multiple departments. And each day it really does give opportunities to everyone else.”
According to Riley, who has now led the event for several years now, the work to put E Day on is nearly a 365-day process that involves finding new, innovative ways to present the work of each department every year to appeal to students who may attend upwards of six times.
It is also a process that involves multiple aspects of the collegiate student experience, such as admissions, financial aid, campus recreation, housing and academics in addition to the hands-on displays created for the event.
While Riley admitted putting E Day on involves hard work from people all throughout the College of Engineering, the intent and end results are well worth it.
“We just hope that at the end of E Day that students take away what it's really like not just to be an Auburn student but an Auburn engineering student,” Riley said. “The one thing we want them to take away is that student-centered experience that we provide our students, they can get that and have a home here whenever they choose which college they want to go to.”
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.
Daniel Schmidt, senior in journalism, is the assistant news editor for the Auburn Plainsman.