SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The next generation of engineers wants more role models, a society more tolerant of female professionals and all the messy imperfections of people who like to pull things apart--and as much encouragement as they can get. Otherwise, they are coming along just fine, thank you.
That was the message from a panel of five young engineers at DesignCon here. Most credited parents and teachers with getting them on the engineering path.
“My dad is an engineer and he said I could do whatever I wanted as long as it was engineering, but up until last year I thought engineering was one of the most boring things you could do,” said Shachi Nandan Kakkar, a high school senior from Cupertino, Calif.
After his father encouraged him to write a blog for EDN, he realized “engineering is more interesting than people give it credit for—it’s so broad, there’s hundreds of things you can do, so find your niche and go after it,” he said.
A female high school physics teacher was mentor to Amanda Pratt, now working on a masters in engineering at the University of California at Berkeley.
“It was my favorite class from the first day, thanks to encouragement from her and my father who is an engineer,” said Pratt who has been accepted to the 2016 class at the Harvard Business School. “I decided I wanted to do something that mattered and have a career with an impact,” she added.
“I’m an engineer by birth,” recalled Andrew Milluzzi, 23-year-old doctoral student at the University of Florida. “Once I was playing with Legos and my Mom said, ‘one day you will be an engineer,’ and I said, ‘but, Mom I don’t want to drive trains,” said Milluzzi who went on to become one of the youngest LabView architects certified by National Instruments.
Kakkar (left) and Milluzzi shared their enthusiasm for engineering.