Engineers make the world go round! It sounds like a broad statement but I believe it is true. If we want to be competitive with the world as far as technology and innovation, we need more students to go into engineering in college. But engineering isn’t a single, isolated subject per se but a way of thinking and a ton of different fields! The challenge exists of how to introduce kids to engineering and the very many fields that encompasses! So I was really excited to hear about DiscoverE and what it is doing to introduced people to engineering!
With many kids the idea or concept of engineering as a field (or fields) much less the idea it is something for them, never crosses their mind. And even those kids who have some idea of engineering have no idea of the expanse of engineering. I was just talking to my 10 year old daughter today about engineering. She said that she didn’t want to be an engineer because she doesn’t really want to just program. Like that is her only engineering option! That is why hearing about the things that DiscoverE is doing and the awesome activity ideas they have on their site is so exciting to me!!!
They have things like the Future City competition where middle school students create solutions to modern problems with city model (think Stark expo in Iron Man;). And to make it fully relevant they have a Facebook page tied to the competition!
DiscoverE also sponsors Girl Day on February 20, 2014! While we don’t have enough students going into engineering overall, the amount of girls who going into engineering is abysmal! Girl Day is an opportunity to have events that are aimed at girls to show them what all engineering can be to them. And this is one of the few times they won’t have to swim through a sea of boys to experience it all! It kicks off with #GirlDay2014 #STEMchat on February 19 at 9 PM Eastern in honor of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
But I have to say my favorite thing that DiscoverE is Engineers Week!! DiscoverE actually use to be the Engineers Week organization. This year Engineers Week is February 16-22, 2014. This holds a special place in my nerdy heart. It is Engineers Week activities that introduced me to the computers that would become my passion!
By high school I knew I didn’t want to go to law school and I loved math but I didn’t want to teach. So I was looking at engineering but the only form of engineering I was familiar with was civil engineering and that just didn’t grab me. I had friends whose parents were civil engineers and buildings was just not my passion. So I was contemplating politics or engineering and I went to the engineering open house at Fresno State for Engineers Week. I saw the concrete canoe project and the solar car and they were cool. As I was standing outside looking at the solar car the Dean of Engineering (Dr. Shaw) came up to me and asked me what interested me. And we talked for a bit and I talked about how much I loved planes and he asked how much computer experience I had. Well, I had been exposed to computers but not really allowed to mess around on them much. He urged me to explore them and told me how integral computers are not only to life but also designing things, like planes. Seeing some of them at work convinced me and I never looked back!
I ended up at Fresno State majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I even did grant research for Dean Shaw 1 semester;). I served in the Society of Women Engineers and helped in 3 different years of Engineering at the Mall. I loved showing the kids what all engineering could be! We would have tin foil boat competitions and clay towers every year. They would see the mouse that was programmed to find its way through a maze. Sometimes they would even go for a ride in the solar car. It is a great event that can make kids see the endless possibilities of engineering, math and science.
While I never finished my degree I still love computers and engineering! And I can say, being exposed to what all engineering could be while I was in grade school has changed my life for ever.
So do your kids know what all engineering is or could be? Be honest, do you? Check out DiscoverE and their Facebook page. Check out the activities you can do with your kids and take your kids to some activities. Expose your kids and they may find their passion and their future!
(This post has been sponsored but trust me, these words and this passion is all mine)