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Missouri Society of Professional Engineers

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by Michael D. Brown

The Ozark chapter of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers comprises about 200 engineers from 13 counties in southwest Missouri.

These engineers are hard at work building your future. Whether it be educating our youth, planning a new park, designing a stainless steel tank, or constructing an office complex engineers are on the job serving you.

The Ozark chapter is one of nine chapters in Missouri, and all state societies are affiliated with the National Society of Professional Engineers. The purpose of the society includes promoting the profession within the community, promoting professionalism, providing fellowship and providing various services to the community.

The Ozark chapter believes that helping to educate our youth is a priority. It is important to the young student, as well as our future. Toward this end, members of the chapter participate in a number of activities described below.

?The Salute to Construction is a joint effort between design and construction professionals to recognize and honor achievements in the construction industry and to promote interest in the industry.

In addition to providing funds to help support this activity, many of our chapter members participate in planning the event and speaking to high school and middle school students about the role of engineers in construction.

?MathCounts is a national mathematics competition for junior high students. The local competition is organized and run by chapter members, who donate their time and energy to emphasize the importance of mathematics. This event is usually held in February, in conjunction with National Engineer's Week.

?National Engineer's Week takes place each February to recognize the contributions of engineers to our country. Chapter members participate by setting up an engineering display and speaking to area junior high school classes about engineering. The mayor of Springfield issues a proclamation sponsored by the chapter.

?On the first Thursday in March, the chapter sponsors Career Night. This is an opportunity for a number of universities to make presentations, display exhibits and to answer questions for area high school students. Chapter members serve dinner to the students and are also available to answer questions regarding engineering.

?The Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair is held in April for junior and senior high school students. The chapter helps provide funding for this event and assists with the judging. The chapter provides two awards for the competition.

?The Model Bridge Contest is usually held in conjunction with the Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair. This activity is for high school students, and it tests their ability to design and construct model bridges out of basswood.

The bridges are loaded to failure, and the bridges with the highest load-to-weight ratio are winners. The top two finalist are eligible to participate in the International Bridge Contest. The chapter has conducted the local contest for the last nine years.

?For the younger set, the chapter provides K-4 Bridge Building demonstrations. This activity is for kindergarten through fourth-grade students and gives the children a chance to build a 6-foot-long truss bridge while introducing them to the engineering profession.

?Because of the importance of education and the chapter's interest in promoting engineering, the chapter provides three $2,000 scholarships each year to successful high school graduates. Interested students should contact their guidance counselors, or they may ask any chapter member for more information.

?To fund all of these activities, the chapter has one fund-raising activity the Annual Shrimp Feed at Fantastic Caverns. This 58-year-old Ozarks tradition draws more than 1,800 people from all over the state. Admission covers plenty of fresh shrimp, cool liquid refreshments and ample opportunity for fellowship. The event is held on the first Thursday of August every year, so mark your calendars now and plan to help the chapter support the youth of southwest Missouri.

The Ozark chapter of MSPE is proud to sponsor the Salute to Construction and of our key role in building your future. For more information, or to find out how to become a member, write us at Ozark Chapter MSPE, PO Box 1152, Springfield 65801, or visit our Web site at

www.pcis.net/mspe.

(Michael D. Brown is president-elect of the Ozark chapter of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers.)

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