The National Academy of Engineering just launched a new website that I think some people here may be interested in. 


We wrote a report in 2008 called "Changing the Conversation" that presented several tested messages and tag lines ("Because dreams need doing"; "Engineers make a world of difference") that show engineering to be an exciting profession involving creative ideas and teamwork . It also recommended strategies and tools for the engineering community to conduct more effective outreach and was the first-ever effort to use market research techniques to try to improve the public image of the profession. 
 
Couple weeks ago we launched this site: http://www.engineeringmessages.org/ in an effort to assist those who create messages for the engineering community, using information from the "Changing the Conversation" report.  This site will be of great use to anyone with an interest in the future health and welfare of the U.S. engineering workforce, and can assist people such as college recruiters, parents, professional societies, web designers, corporate marketers, and engineering evangelists in selling engineering to young people and the public. The site has built a community around web 2.0 applications where people can learn from each other, comment on examples of good and not-so-good messaging efforts, share ideas, and interact with peers.  Also found on the site are case studies, a tip sheet, and presentations from a workshop conducted in part to strengthen the site.

 

Please give it a look if you have a second and give some feedback if you feel so inclined!  We'd love to have the Ning community thoughts. 

Views: 147

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The news last night covered "signing day" which made a big deal about which high school athletes were signing letters of intent to play for which college.

 

I don't recall ever seeing such an event for engineering students.

 

We are certainly sending the wrong messages!

Phil - Not sure if you're being tongue-in-cheek or not, but you might have stumbled on something! 

 

Think about it...every year the top high schools in the country have kids that the Ivies and others actually fight for.  Not to the extent that a Big 10 school goes after the next blue chip QB, but these are kids they KNOW are goig to be the whiz kids for the next six years, with patents and new ideas and such. 

 

Surely we could ID those kids in the STEM fields and get even a few to allow us to make some publicity out of their decisions to go to school.  Even if there is no drama behind it, we could drama it up for a Youtube video or get Discovery or the like to run 30 seconds on it or something.

While most everything I say has a sardonic undertone, this particular topic - engineering education - is one I take seriously.

 

I know the messages you were talking about are the ones on the engineering messages website. They are nice, but my first reaction was: Really? I guess I didn't realize that was a problem in need of solution. I kind of flashed on the the scene from "Hellfighters" where John Wayne sits through a board meeting to pick the colors for the corporate restrooms.

 

Yes, it would be good to see publicity for the students who are getting recruited actively by the colleges. They certainly deserve it. I'd especially like to see the next level down - those not quite good enough to get the full rides, but easily good enough to become engineers - get some recognition. Those are the people that make up the bulk of the work force.

 

My dad funded a scholarship for people like that. He knew the top student in my class would rake in the bulk of the scholarship money. He also knew that some of my classmates had the ability and just needed a break. So, he specifically excluded the top student from consideration. I like the concept.

 

(And yes - I was the top student. He wanted to teach some humility, too.)

Did I put a curse on your discussion again? I hate it when that happens!

 

Somebody else out there must have an opinion?

Trying to lift the curse??  :-)

 

Thanks for posting...     Here is one I'll share also (did I already post this on here?). Watch the one titled "What messages do you send?"   http://www.engineeringmessages.org/25261/26829.aspx

 

 

Well...

 

If we chat it up enough, this discussion will float to the top where others will notice and join the conversation!

 

I got to talk with Bill Spracher of Bionic Builders fame (http://www.bionicbuilders.com/) . It seems that shows like that will make engineering more appealing to the general public. Maybe if kids see what kinds of problems are out there and the fun you can have solving them, they will get hooked.

I've never seen that show...it looks incredible!  I could see some in the handicapped community considering it exploitative, but it's another great example of how engineering changes lives.  And in this era of the mega popular comic book movies, most kids could see this as something right out of Iron Man. 

 

And I think you've got it right.  Kids want to help people, they want to make a difference...engineering lets them do that as much as medicine and a helluva lot more than law.  Yeah, the math classes might suck, but it's about applying creativity to solve important problems.   If we can use that to sell engineering to kids...

I really enjoyed this subject matter having followed the path through your links and ending up on UTube "If it weren't hard, it wouldn't be engineering."  Having engineered my own ideas to fruition I have enjoyed watching the end result and the recognition of my peers. I am also glad in that my personal achievements cannot be assimilated nor claimed by others.

I have worked with many brilliant minds in engineering that have produced ideas and concepts that humble me in awe - Too often I come across young people looking to become Robotics or Biomechatronics engineers  thinking that the qualification can be found that will enable them to create an entire automaton when the true talent lays with the electronics engineer who designs the tactile sensors, the mechanical engineer who designs the finger joint and wrist or other mobility the pneumatics engineer and the software engineer etc.

At a recent robotics conference I was privileged to work the stand with the group of engineers from the Shadow Robot company  who make a robotic hand designed to provide remote dexterity where human hands may not go, this kind of robotics is a kind of hobby for me and I enjoy the Esprit de corps in the Shadow team -  the stand was crowded by children, all fired up and inspired to know more, touch and feel and find out just how they could also make such a wondrous thing.

 

It was through this venue that they learned that it was a group who would Engineer the solution, a group / team of engineers with the same objective but with different talents and areas of expertise that would result in the creation of such a technological marvel.

Real Engineers are inventors, the necromancers of the world who make real the desires of technology and provide new miracles for man to survive into the future and only few of these great minds are ever recognized as they are the people who work by the glow of the computer monitor in the back office whilst corporate marketers’ brag the successes as if they designed the result.

I would suggest a start point should be the definitive list of engineering professions listing each specialty that would lead to a list of institutions that offer qualifications and a breakdown of where these qualifications could be applied so that if a young mind wanted to find the path to designing an aircraft or the next space shuttle then such a website would lead them there.

I would suggest also an engineering achievers list that would verify and attribute design innovation to the designer in a similar method to how we award other professions – kind of like the Oscar of engineering….

Most Kids dont know where to go to get what, there are no websites that show them how to reach a certain goal as pointed out in my reply, there needs to be a dictionary of engineering that has the family tree of engineering and where to go to learn the segment of the tree you are interested in ....



National Academy of Engineering said:

I've never seen that show...it looks incredible!  I could see some in the handicapped community considering it exploitative, but it's another great example of how engineering changes lives.  And in this era of the mega popular comic book movies, most kids could see this as something right out of Iron Man. 

 

And I think you've got it right.  Kids want to help people, they want to make a difference...engineering lets them do that as much as medicine and a helluva lot more than law.  Yeah, the math classes might suck, but it's about applying creativity to solve important problems.   If we can use that to sell engineering to kids...

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Members

© 2020   Created by Marshall Matheson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service