We care deeply about the next generation of engineers, but readily admit we don't have all the answers. What we do have is a pulpit to help contribute to the conversation about how to encourage more students to enter and stick with technical disciplines, especially engineering.
One will be from Naomi Price, who helps edit not only EE Life and Drive for Innovation but Innovation Generation, our site for young technologists. The other from Suzanne Deffree, managing editor with EDN. These two editors are among our most dynamic and passionate when it comes to STEM education.
Deffree's presentation, "The Engineering Crisis: 5 Things we should and
can all be doing to inspire STEM," will start the ISEC event at 10 a.m. and follows on editorial coverage EDN has devoted to encouraging the next generation of STEM professionals, including the March 1 cover story and continuing blog series on "engineering" more interest in STEM. (See http://bit.ly/xyFX9J and http://bit.ly/wfcz3l).
Price's presentation will directly follow at 10:30 a.m.
Price will speak on "The Importance of Mentoring in STEM" and will
focus on the status of technical education in the US school system and
how mentors from the electronics professions can work within the school
system to enrich programming and engage students. She will share
findings from her extensive discussions with teachers and mentors who
participated in a recent four-month electronics contest, and will pass
on their thoughts on finding mentors, what mentors add to the student
experience, and programs they recommend to spark student interest in
electronics and other STEM fields.
I know from email responses I've gotten since a recent newsletter note talked about mentoring that our audience feels just as passionately about the topic. So if you're in the area, stop on by. Since most of you won't be, stay tuned for some followup posts from Suzanne and Naomi in the coming days!
I would point to FIRST robotic competitions as a great vehicle for inspiring students to pursue engineering and technology degrees. Not only do the students learn about mechanical design, software, physics, fabrication, testing, system integration, and public relations BUT they have fun in the process! If you are wondering what it is all about, check out the FIRST website (www.usfirst.org) to find out if there is a local competition scheduled near you. The competition season is in full swing right now through March with Championships in April. Hope you have a chance to see students really having fun with technology while competing.
Suzanne and I had a great time at ISEC and were both inspired by the amazing work these educators are doing to encourage our next generation of engineers. We'll post info on some of the presentations soon!