National Engineers Week is just around the corner—February 21st to 27th—this is a time to celebrate engineers and encourage our future generations of engineers and innovators. By now we all have heard that STEM careers are in high demand however, the current flow of talent into the STEM pipeline is limited—time for change.
Engineering is a fantastic disciple that opens doors to a variety of career paths. Exploration and efficiency are reinforced mindsets in engineering classes and these principals help shape many of the top CEOs and inventors of today. In 2014, Harvard Business Review came out with a list of the 100 best-performing CEOs on the planet and a quarter of them held an engineering degree. “Studying engineering gives someone a practical, pragmatic orientation.”
Below are a few ideas on how we can work together, as a community, to encourage engineering and educate students about our profession.
- Help change the perception of engineering. Many students still view engineering as a viable career option only if you are “good ” at math and science. Engineering is more about solving real-world problems. Creativity is also a large part of our job that does not get enough attention.
- Become a mentor. Get out of the office and become a mentor for a local STEM focused organization. Students cannot dream about becoming an engineer if they have never met an engineer. Mentorship gives students a hands-on look and allows them to ask career questions in an informal setting. Our President and Chief 3D Officer, Collin Kobayashi, recently mentored a very talented team of students in Startup Weekend Honolulu 2015 and they ended up coming in first runner-up in the Global Startup Battle. These young innovators were merely 10 and 12 years old, yet had the determination, desire and support system in place to succeed.
- Organize a visit to your workplace. Work with a local school and organize a time for students to come to your office and check out what it means to be an engineer. Not only do most kids not know an engineer, they haven’t seen engineering in action. Give them a tour, introduce them to the engineers and technicians who work there, show them a project you or your colleagues are working on, feed them lunch, answer their questions, and take their picture and give them copies to remind them of how cool engineering is.
- Introduce a fun engineering activity. With a quick Google search you can find a million ideas on age appropriate engineering activities—everything from building a tower with marshmallows and toothpicks to designing a CAD file for 3D printing. These activities show that engineering is more than math equations and calculators. Engineering is hands-on and should be introduced and taught that way!
You never know, you might just might be encouraging the next great inventor…
3D Innovations is a Product Development Company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.