LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 6, 2023) — For Gabriel Suarez, his fascination with using machines and technology to solve some of the world’s most complex problems started at a young age.
As a boy growing up in Danville, Kentucky, he remembers the excitement he felt when his grandparents drove him, his brother and cousin to the University of Kentucky campus for an afternoon filled with wonder.
“I remember them taking me to E-Day when 3D printing was being introduced. I was very young,” Suarez said.” Neither of my grandparents went to UK, but they were — and still are — huge on showing their grandchildren what the world has to offer.”
From building bridges and discovering medication to writing software — Engineers Day, or E-Day, is the College of Engineering’s celebration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
A decadeslong tradition, UK Engineering held its first E-Day on May 26, 1921. The university dismissed classes at noon to allow the community to tour the college and see its researchers and students in action.
Now, an estimated 3,000 people attend E-Day each year.
Approximately 100 contests, demonstrations and exhibits will engage and entertain, and teach a lesson or two in STEM, at this year’s 100th E-Day celebration, Saturday, Feb. 25.
Sponsored by Lexmark and Lockheed Martin, the event will take place from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on UK’s campus.
During E-Day, which is free and open to the public, attendees of all ages will also have the opportunity to interact with engineering companies, researchers and college students.
“E-Day is a blast for students of all ages,” Derrick Meads, chair of E-Day, said. “It’s so powerful for kids to see that engineering is interesting, exciting — and just plain fun. This event helps them see themselves as future engineers.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, UK Engineering hosted "E-Day Live!" — an all-day livestream variety show full of engineering activities, live webinars, and on-demand activities and presentations.
This year’s event will be a return to an in-person open house.
“This is a celebration. So many of our students had their first exposure to engineering through E-Day,” Rudy Buchheit, the Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of the College of Engineering said. “We are so proud that 100 years later, the University of Kentucky is still introducing engineering to Kentuckians.”
“I remember walking through the civil engineering building. Each room was filled with students holding demonstrations,” Suarez added. I thought to myself, if using 3D printers and making drones is what engineers do, then I want to be an engineer.”
Fast forward, Suarez is now a sophomore studying materials engineering at UK, and he hopes E-Day will continue to inspire younger generations for years to come.
“When I came to UK to pursue my engineering degree, I was exploring campus as any other curious student does and found myself in the civil engineering building — I instantly remembered E-Day,” he said. “Now, every time I walk through that building, I smile and think about where it all started.”
Engineers Day comes at the end of Engineers Week, an annual event sponsored by a coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies dedicated to promoting math and science literacy and ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.