Newsletter: September 2017

AAES Chair's Message 

Dear AAES Member

Welcome to the third edition of the 2017 AAES newsletter! I hope that you had a restful summer and are reenergized as we head into fall. I look forward to seeing you and attending our Fall AAES meeting, which will occur on Thursday, November 2, in Reston, Virginia.

The Fall meeting morning session will focus on how Societies and others are providing opportunities for underserved engineering populations and relating them to our Memorandum of Understanding regarding re-entry and alternative paths into the engineering profession. The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will share the success of the STEM Re-entry Task Force in partnership with iRelaunch. This program promotes internships for experienced engineers returning to the workforce. ABET now accredits engineering programs that are 100-percent online. These online programs are reaching a different population (in regards to age, veteran status, etc.) than those enrolled in face-to-face programs. In addition to learning more about the successful SWE and ABET opportunities, the AAES K-12 (STEM) Committee will provide an update on their recent work at the Fall Meeting.

The afternoon will be dedicated to the General Assembly business meeting.  A key item of the meeting is the annual election of members of the Board of Directors. This year we have one vacant Board position.  The Board’s efforts this fall include continued strategic planning and financial planning discussions.

Finally, as you are aware, ASCE restructured staffing over the summer impacting their AAES leadership. I want to thank Wendy Cowan for her years of service as the AAES Executive Director, and welcome Melissa Prelewicz as the new AAES Executive Director. Robin Matsumoto continues in her role of administrative and event support, with Carol Bowers rejoining the leadership team for general oversight and governance support. 



Alyse R. Stofer

2016-2017 Chair, American Association of Engineering Societies


Nominate Your Worthy Members for AAES Awards - Deadline October 16th

AAES’s awards program is an important cross-disciplinary recognition opportunity for your members. Honor your outstanding members for their leadership, innovations, and dedicated service in areas including education, scientific or industrial achievement, communications, journalism, public policy, and solving environmental challenges. While the nomination deadline for each of six awards is typically October 15, the deadline this year is extended to October 16 due to the weekend. Awardees will be recognized at the AAES Awards Banquet held in conjunction with the NAE-AAES Convocation of the Professional Engineering Societies on April 23, 2018. Visit the AAES Awards page for details; click to download a nomination form (PDF). For questions and to submit nominations, contact


Mark Your Calendar - November 2017 AAES General Assembly Meeting

Location: Reston, Virginia

Dates: Wednesday, November 1, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Light Reception at the Westin Hotel
          Thursday, November 2, 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – General Assembly meeting at ASCE headquarters

Member Society presidents, executive directors and representatives (where applicable) are invited to attend. Additional members/subject matter experts are always welcome. An email with registration information and hotel details was sent out in early August. See the Chair’s Message above for information on the educational session program and business meeting. If you have questions, please e-mail We look forward to seeing you in November!


Include STEM Outreach in Your Foreign Travel Plans

Traveling abroad? Participate in the State Department's Science Technology and Innovation Expert Partnership and inspire youth to pursue STEM careers, motivate the next generation of engineers to create solutions to shared global challenges, and discuss strategies for involving more women and minorities in STEM careers. 

Learn more and make a difference!


Program Committee News

WFEO Finalizes Slate for December 2017 Elections

The finalized slate for the upcoming WFEO elections is summarized in the Report from the WFEO Nominations Committee Chair. AAES nominee Reginald I. Vachon, Ph.D., P.E., Eur. Ing is one of three individuals pursuing the position of President Elect.  Elections will be held at the WFEO General Assembly meeting in Rome, Italy on December 1-2, 2017. 


IntAC Leads WFEO Efforts at UN High Level Political Forum

AAES International Activities Committee (IntAC) is leading the WFEO efforts to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and participated in both the Multistakeholder Forum on Science and Technology Innovation in May (see article in June eNewsletter) and the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July, both held at UN Headquarters in New York. IntAC, for WFEO, worked closely at both events with the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Council for Social Sciences (ISSC), its partners in the Science and Technology Major Group (STC).  At the HLPF, AAES IntAC supported preparation of the STC inputs, prepared and presented an STC display, shared with ICSU and ISSC the duties of representing the STC at the thematic reviews and the voluntary national reviews, and participated in the meeting of the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report Committee. 

Reginald Vachon representing STC at one of the Voluntary National
Review sessions at the UN High Level Political Forum.
Photo courtesy of Bill Kelly. 


Member Societies News

TMS Releases Free Study: Building a Materials Data Infrastructure

Building a Materials Data Infrastructure, a new study organized by TMS on behalf of the U.S. National Science Foundation, is available for free download. The study has been developed as a tool for proactively addressing the global trend towards open sharing of research projects. Highlights include detailed, actionable recommendations, a visual definition of the materials data infrastructure, and a summary of guidance and lessons learned from other disciplines. More than 1,500 professionals have already acquired the report online since its release in late May.


New Video Explains Automation in Simple, Easy-to-Understand Terms

Have you ever had difficulty explaining or defining automation to young people or others outside the field? Most likely, the answer is yes. A new introductory video developed by the Automation Federation—an association of member organizations founded by the International Society of Automation—explains automation in simple, easy-to-understand terms. The video, which also showcases some of the many rewarding career opportunities available in the automation field and features comments from practicing automation professionals, is a great resource to share with young people, particularly those in middle and high schools.


ASEE's Annual Conference Highlights

ASEE's Annual Conference and Exposition convened over 4,000 people in June in Columbus, Ohio. Among the many highlights were keynote speaker France Córdova, NSF Director, who kicked off the event; local TV show Good Day Columbus broadcast live from the Exhibit Hall; a team from Ohio State University led a packed session on adapting toys for children with disabilities; and a collection of animals were on display daily from the renowned Columbus Zoo. Also at the conference, ASEE inducted its first African American female president, Bev Watford of Virginia Tech. 


ASME Congressional Briefing Highlights the DOD's Engineering Education Grant Program

On July 25, more than 120 Congressional staff and industry stakeholders convened at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., for an ASME-sponsored Congressional Briefing focusing on the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program. The panel discussion, which was hosted by the House and Senate Manufacturing Caucuses, featured a group of subject matter experts who discussed how the grant program will help strengthen the U.S. economy and national security, while safeguarding the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector.


3D Printing Innovator Charles Hull to Deliver IMECE Opening Keynote

Additive manufacturing pioneer Charles W. Hull, co-founder and chief technology officer of 3D Systems, has been selected as the speaker for the Opening Keynote at the ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE). IMECE 2017, the world’s largest interdisciplinary mechanical engineering conference, will take place from November 3 to 9 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. The Opening Keynote, titled “Then and Now: What It Takes to Innovate,” will offer attendees a historical overview of additive manufacturing as well as a look at trends that are shaping the future of the field.


ISHOW USA Provides Financial, Design and Business Support for Three Winning Teams

Social entrepreneurs addressing eye care, cooking and food preservation in low-resource settings were the winners among 10 teams competing as finalists at ASME’s recent Innovation Showcase (ISHOW) in Washington, D.C. The Washington competition, which took place June 21-23 at the District Architecture Center, was the third ISHOW this year, with earlier events held in Nairobi, Kenya and Bangalore, India. ISHOW is ASME’s annual showcase and competition for hardware-led social innovation. In each city, three teams were chosen as winners. Each winning team received $10,000 in cash, plus 20 hours of design consultation from ASME ISHOW partner, Catapult Design.


IEEE TechEthics Conference, Co-hosted by NAE, Explores the Ethical and Social Implications of Technology

IEEE TechEthics is collaborating with the NAE Center for Engineering Ethics and Society to host a conference on October 13, 2017 that will address significant and provocative questions related to artificial intelligence (AI), neuroscience, autonomous transportation, ethics education, and other key aspects of the technology ethics landscape. It will feature luminaries in technology, philosophy, ethics, policy development and will include talks on: social, personal and economic impacts of AI; if brain-inspired AI is leading to conscious machines; promise and dangers of lethal autonomous weapons; and influencing the next generation of engineers via ethics education.  


IEEE-USA, USTPO Partner to Offer Free Webinar Series

IEEE-USA has partnered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to offer a series of webinars delivered by USPTO experts on topics related to patent filing and intellectual property protection. The latest webinar, Patent Claim Drafting for Beginners, along with previous and future offerings, are available on-line.


Professional Engineers Day Celebrated in August

On August 2, 2017, PEs across the globe came together to celebrate the second annual Professional Engineers Day. Designed to increase awareness and appreciation of PEs, this mostly virtual event saw NSPE members, partner organizations, engineering firms, engineering schools, and even the general public recognizing the event and posting the #LicensedPEDay hashtag across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In addition to all of the virtual activity, many state societies and members took the initiative to secure official proclamations for Professional Engineers Day from their governors, mayors, and county officials. Others celebrated with in-person events. Next year’s event will be Wednesday, August 1, 2018.


NSPE Urges Defeat of Draft Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act of 2017

NSPE recently expressed concern that a bill on testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles will allow automakers to deploy vehicles without first addressing the major safety, technological, and ethical implications. NSPE is urging defeat of the draft legislation, the Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act of 2017, in its current form and has been proactively working with Congress, namely Rep. David McKinley, P.E. (R-WV), to address these vital issues. In particular, NSPE and McKinley have expressed concerns about the lack of a requirement for a third-party certification by someone in the decision-making chain (i.e., a professional engineer) who has a duty to put public safety first and override competitive pressures. Watch Rep. McKinley’s remarks on this topic. 


NSPE Seeks to Protect PE Role in Oil and Natural Gas Emissions Rule

NSPE continues to fight efforts to stop a critical final rule on oil and natural gas emissions that requires a professional engineer to perform critical functions to meet performance standards. In July, NSPE submitted public comment to the EPA regarding its reconsideration of the requirement for a professional engineer to certify the closed vent system design and capacity assessment. PEs share a common purpose with the EPA in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public and NSPE strongly urged the EPA to enforce the current requirements until and unless a new rulemaking is undertaken. NSPE Executive Director Mark Golden also testified at an EPA hearing regarding this issue.


NSPE Collaborates Against Piping Materials Preference Legislation

NSPE is actively working to defeat federal legislation that would undermine the role of the professional engineer in making final decisions about the correct type of piping to use in the nation’s water systems. NSPE, ASCE, and other engineering and water utility associations sent a letter to Congress and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (ROR), opposing materials-preference legislation that—under the guise of promoting “open competition”—seeks to legislate technical decisions related to pipes and other materials that should be made by licensed engineers and local communities. NSPE has also been collaborating with its state societies to defeat this legislation at the state level.


ASCE Board Adopts New Canon Highlighting Diversity and Inclusion

The ASCE Board of Direction voted unanimously at its July meeting to adopt new language in the Society’s Code of Ethics that expresses a professional obligation to provide fair and equal treatment for all. Read the new Canon and the process behind the decision making.


Insight into Engineering for a Zero-Sea-Level City from a New Orleans Native

With the ASCE 2017 Convention in New Orleans this October, ASCE President Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE, has the unique opportunity of welcoming attendees to her hometown. As an overview of what Convention attendees will find in 2017, Mattei outlined some of her hometown’s challenges and successes for ASCE News.


Young Engineers: We'll Lead the Charge on Making the Future Sustainable

ASCE's Younger Members "are moving toward becoming masters of the built environment, while also increasing the quality of life for all," wrote Elizabeth Ruedas in an exclusive for ASCE News. Ruedas will moderate two sessions at the upcoming ASCE International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure which will take place in New York in October.  Read her thoughts on the sustainability potential that young engineers can bring to the profession.


Events and Items of Interest

NAE Annual Meeting Forum: Autonomy on Land and Sea and in the Air and Space

The National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2017 Annual Meeting will be held October 8-9, 2017 in Washington, DC.  The theme is Autonomy on Land and Sea and in the Air and Space, and will address opportunities and concerns surrounding the emergence of autonomous technology.  Following the induction of new NAE members on the 8th, presentations will include plenary lectures on autonomy as it relates to ethics and artificial intelligence. A public forum on the 9th will involve a wide-ranging discussion on unmanned aircraft and space exploration systems, autonomous ships, and self-driving cars. The Annual Meeting will be webcast live at

New NASEM Report: Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings

People in developed countries spend the vast majority of their time indoors. That time is shared with a large and diverse community of microorganisms that find their way into homes, workplaces, schools, and other buildings. Research on indoor environments, microorganisms, and human health has been conducted for decades, but new molecular tools and collaborative efforts that bridge microbiology, engineering, architecture, and public health are generating a deeper understanding of the complex interactions among human occupants, built environments, and associated microbial communities. This report, released in mid-August, was prepared by a joint National Academy of Sciences (NAS)/NAE/National Academy of Medicine (NAM) study committee. It assesses the current state of knowledge on the connections/interactions between indoor environments, microorganisms, and human health, identifies knowledge gaps, and outlines a research agenda for filling these gaps.