Engineering wasn’t something that was even mentioned as an option when I was deciding what career path I should follow. Now… I am surrounded by engineers each and every day and I find myself wondering… Could I have been an Engineer?
I graduated from the University of Alabama with what I thought was the hardest major I could have chosen – FINANCE. The classes I really loved were Economics, Risk Management, and GBA490 (Strategic Management). So, it’s not that I was given the option of becoming and engineer and thought – oh that’s too hard, or that’s not for me… I just don’t think it even came up.. and Math and Science were my best subjects.
So.. This is something I want to help change! As you know I have two boys and a girl, and I talk to them on a regular basis about engineering, pumps, and making a 100 (meaning always ‘do your best’). But, is that enough?… Is it enough for us to only talk to and educate our own children? The more engineers I meet, the more I feel a sense of responsibility to spread the word about these amazing people, and the outstanding opportunities the engineering field offers to my community and network. I started Pump Person of the week 3 years ago to help showcase technical leaders, such as engineers, in the pump community – so I guess even then my need to do more was strong.
This week I went to my kid’s elementary school and lead a day of introducing children to engineering. It was one of my all-time favorite experiences! I learned so much, had a LOT of fun, and I of course gained more respect for our amazing teachers!
I started the presentation with who I was and that I worked for a digital media company that, as part of its mission, connected engineers and helped inform and educate them about products and resources that could be used to improve their systems… And like Pumps… Engineering is everywhere and vital to life! Then we watched this really cool video: https://youtu.be/FAJGx3zP-Eo
I loved watching the kids in the class light up as the video talked about all the cool things engineers do. Its message is clear; engineer’s touch every part of our lives and without them progress would stop…wow! I think this is something we should be constantly reminded about.
After the video, I asked the question, Can you see yourself as an engineer? I let them know that we were all going to be engineers in training and start a project to build boats out of aluminum foil. The engineering design process was on the wall in the classroom which was excellent! So, I learned that it is:
Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Communicate, Improve
And then I let them work together in teams… The best was watching the girls team win especially after the boys saying “oh that’s the girl table”. I was so proud of them… It happened several times. I had to hold back the words #BeThatEngineer GIRLS! But their work spoke for itself… Plus they were able to then stand in the front of the class and communicate how they built their design and what other should do to improve theirs… I was so proud. I especially like the girl on my son’s team who told him it was her design that won.
I think it is important that we introduce our children to engineering and these possibilities it offers, otherwise, they just won’t know!
So I have a goal to promote the engineers I know and the engineering community while encouraging the little ones I know to DreamBIG! And I encourage you to do the same; y’all could start by showing your kids the engineering video and then building the aluminum boat project***. I guarantee you’ll have fun watching your children problem solve, but you also may just ignite the spark that creates another fabulous engineer that will help change the world and keep progress moving forward.
***Aluminum Penny Boat Project
In this easy science experiment you will be designing a tin foil boat that will hold the greatest number of pennies. Get your kids together with some friends and have a contest to see who can design a cargo boat that will hold the most pennies.
More activities here: http://www.discovere.org/our-activities