Q: Why is important to have an annual Engineers Week?
It’s important to bring visibility to engineers and the work they do. Engineering has been referred to as the “stealth profession.” The results of engineering are certainly visible and used daily. But engineers? They’re not recognized. If we are going to encourage future generations of STEM – emphasis on the E – professionals, they must have contact with engineers and the chance to try engineering, even in small, hands-on ways.
Q: What are you hoping young people will get from this year’s theme: Engineers: Inspiring Wonder?
I hope they will understand that engineers create today’s awe-inspiring wonders, from deep sea exploration to cloud-busting skyscrapers. I hope they are inspired to wonder what the next great innovations might be and how they can play a role in creating them.
Q: How can engineers, educators and parents help keep the inspiration going all year?
Continue to introduce students to role models. Be sure kids are getting the right messages to reinforce that engineering is creative, team-based, and helps people. Find ways for kids to explore engineering. There are simple hands-on activities at discovere.org along with tips on how to talk to kids at a variety of ages about what engineers do. Engineering activities help kids understand how they can use the science, math, and technology they study.
Q: Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is part of Engineers Week. Why is it so important to have a day dedicated specifically to showing girls the wonders of engineering?
We know that girls are under-represented in STEM education and in many STEM careers. Here at DiscoverE, we know that girls are interested in and more than capable of success in engineering. Look at the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event at the University of Texas – Austin where they host 6,000 girls. We’ve met current college students whose first engineering experiences were through a Girl Day event.
Q: How can people take the first step to participate in Engineers Week?
There are lots of ways to take an initial step or to take a big leap. First, whether a skilled volunteer, educator or parent, visit discovere.org. Our mission is to support volunteers and everything we provide online is free and adaptable, whether you want to work with one youngster, a Scout troop, or in a more formal class setting. And join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #Eweek2018.