Third annual Engineering Day welcomes more than 500 of the region's school children
NEW PALTZ -- The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the State University of New York at New Paltz will host more than 500 school children from the four-county region in an all-day event on Wednesday, Feb. 23, to celebrate National Engineers Week. The theme of the event, "New Faces of Engineering," is designed to introduce students to the exciting world of engineering.
This year's keynote speaker, author and illustrator James Gurney, will offer a lively slide presentation on his best-selling illustrated book, "Dinotopia: The World Beneath." Gurney will show how he creates realistic oil paintings of lost worlds using colorful images and amusing anecdotes. He uses scientific research, as well as local sketching and actor models, to demonstrate his work.
In addition, there will be a performance by 14-year-old standup comedian Kyle Fisher-Hertz, a member of a Manhattan-based group called Kids 'N Comedy. Fisher-Hertz was the youngest comic to be selected to perform at the New York City Underground Comedy Festival held at more than a dozen comedy clubs in New York City last November. He was the winner of the Clean Comedy contest in that festival.
Throughout the day, students grades 7 through 12 will have the opportunity to experience what engineers do by participating in hands-on projects, including the creation of their own brain game circuit. They will visit displays of state-of-the-art products designed by engineers from more than 40 local high-tech companies.
"National Engineers week is an opportunity to tell students and the public how engineers contribute to our quality of life," said John Harrington, dean of the School of Science and Engineering at New Paltz.
"Engineers make things better, faster and safer. It is important for students to know that engineers use math and science to solve problems, create useful products and make our world a better place."
Gurney majored in anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley and studied illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Ca. He traveled across the United States working in the film industry and has painted over 500 backgrounds for the animated feature film "Fire and Ice." His work has won the Hugo and Chesley Awards and the World Fantasy Award, as well as gold and silver medals from the Art Director's Club and the Spectrum Design. An exhibition of his artwork from Dinotopia was held at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and will continue at the Norman Rockwell Museum next year.
Gurney's interest in engineering and his background as an artist for National Geographic have brought a unique level of plausibility to his work in fantasy. His illustrated book, "Dinotopia: The World Beneath" has been developed as a video game and an Emmy Award-winning television program.
Fischer-Hertz has performed at the Laugh Lounge and Standup New York in Manhattan, the Plaza Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and Bananas Comedy Club in Poughkeepsie. He was also a guest on the nationally syndicated television show "Live in Hollywood," and has performed at various other venues, including South Street Seaport in Manhattan, the River Fest in Poughkeepsie and a theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island. His other hobbies are skiing, baseball, slam poetry and Texas Hold 'Em.
Lead sponsors for the event include IBM Corporation, Panasonic Plasma Display Laboratory of America, Inc., Philips NA and Industry Street Systems. Other sponsors include Central Hudson, Applied Materials, Schott Lithotec and FTS Systems.
Other supporters include: Alcoa (Huck Fastening Systems); Council of Industry of Southeastern New York; Mid-Hudson Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; VirTis (SP Industries); Solid State Cooling; Ulster BOCES; Fala Technologies; Curtis Instruments; and Engelhard Corporation.
For more information on all other National Engineers Week programs and events, visit www.eweek.org.
Note to editors: If you plan on attending Engineering Day, please contact the SUNY New Paltz Office of Public Affairs at (845) 257-3245. For more information on the School of Science and Engineering at SUNY New Paltz, visit www.newpaltz.edu/sse.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.