In honor of National Engineers Week, we ask readers what inspired them to become engineers and what can be done to encourage more young people to join the ranks.
Some kids in Tennessee made sandwiches. A middle school from North Carolina won the Future City Competition, for designing affordable housing for those in need. President Barack Obama spoke with some astronauts. Companies and organizations doled out thousands of dollars in scholarships to kids. And hundreds (if not thousands) of working engineers took time out from their day jobs to go into classrooms and try to get people interested in math, science and engineering.
All of these things happened this week as part of National Engineers Week, designed to celebrate engineering and reach future generations of engineering talent.
For the record, we applaud the event and any person or organization who contributed their time, money, products or other resources to advance such a worthy cause. But the question remains: How effective is this type of outreach in inspiring young people to pursue engineering?
We are well aware that engineering enrollment has been in decline for the past two decades. Many worry that this vital profession simply doesn't appeal to kids anymore, maybe because it seems too difficult or unexciting, or maybe because it no longer seems like a desirable career. We've all heard a dozen theories that try to explain this disturbing trend.
Readers of EE Times have never been shy about voicing opinions on the state of engineering. We ask you to weigh in here. What can/should be done to motivate more young people to go into engineering? What was it that first inspired you to answer the calling? Is it something that could still resonate with today's youth? Join the conversation.