USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

i-73bc7800970f979aaca1115cc7e39112-Celeste Baine Photo.jpgWe’ve all heard the news: U.S. students aren’t pursuing engineering careers in sufficient numbers to keep pace with the technical demands that our global markets will require for the future. So where do we start in turning this situation around? The answer is really quite basic, according to Celeste Baine, director of the Engineering Education Service Center (EESC) and the award-winning author of more than 6 publications on motivating and educating students towards engineering careers. “We’ve got to start communicating and demonstrating to students how important engineering is in virtually every part of our daily lives,” says Celeste – from the cars we drive and the iPhones we use to the medicine we take and the music we listen to. “Students need to know by becoming an engineer, or through training in other STEM fields, the key role they can play in developing innovations that will make this world a better place for everyone.”

To further demonstrate to students how ubiquitous engineering is in everyday life, Celeste – a biomedical engineer herself — likes to challenge them to name a hobby they have. Any hobby or interest they have, she says, is bound to be applicable to engineering, whether it be interests ranging from music and sports to computer video games and theme park thrill rides – thereby illustrating that in the wide-open field of engineering they can find a career pursuit to satisfy their personal hobbies and dreams as well. “There has never been a better time in the history of this country to promote engineering,” she says.

How do you think we can encourage the students of today to become the top engineers of tomorrow?

Read more about Celeste Baine here.

Hear Celeste speak to students at Marguette University about the important roles engineers play in every day life.

And watch this short video trailer about women in engineering.

Comments

  1. #1 Margaret Milligan-Joye
    July 1, 2011

    I think one of the biggest obsticles to overcome is that students don’t necessarily know what an Engineer is/does. I recently had a student in class say they wanted to be an Engineer so I asked them what classes they were going to take in the their senior year – yet they didn’t list Physics or a high level Math class. I continued to probe and asked her why she didn’t want to take Physics and her response was “because I don’t like Physics”. Students simply hear that Engineering is a field in demand and that people in that field can make make lots of money, but they don’t know the ins and outs of Engineering. They can’t answer the question “What is an Engineer”.

    If we want these new STEM initiatives to work, we have to get Engineers into the classroom and working with students to show them the many areas of Engineer and what they as an Engineer do on a daily basis. Job shadowing or a short “intern” position as a (high school) student might give students an opportunity to explore and understand why they want to become an Engineer. Practical applications of Engineering tied in with mentoring from Engineers would also greatly help our students understand what this field can be about. There are several robotics programs out there for our students interested in electrical and mechanical engineering, but what about biomedical engineering? Where can a student go who is interested in some of the lesser know Engineering fields?

    I think communication and the sharing of knowledge is a major first step in encouraging our students to pursue (or at least explore) Engineering.

  2. #2 Kandy Collins
    July 1, 2011

    Thank you very much for your insightful comments!!

  3. #3 Mommiest
    July 1, 2011

    I’m a robotics mom. I have been amazed at how the kids on FIRST Robotics teams get excited about research and problem-solving with a team of like-minded peers. My son has decided he wants to be a robotics programmer when he grows up and is studying on his own, outside of school, to do this.

    Get this program in every school now. You’ll get engineers, and you’ll get a generation adults who understand science and vote that way.

  4. #4 Kandy Collins
    July 1, 2011

    Thanks for your comments. They are very inspiring.