“People don’t know what an engineer is,” said Lloyd Walker, a senior in San Jose State’s college of engineering. “My dad worked on the space shuttle, so I thought everyone in engineering was a scientist--go rocket science!” said Walker, now pursuing a specialty in avionics.
I was raised in India where it is ingrained in you to become a doctor or an engineer,” said Manan Mehta. “From childhood, I wanted to make a difference. That’s why I am working for a company making strides in renewable energy,” said Mehta, now a reliability engineer at Solectria Renewables.
With a few exceptions—such as Milluzzi, whose role model is inventor and First Robotics founder Dean Kamen--the young people said they didn’t have many engineering heroes. “Everyone knows who Payton Manning is, but no one knows who is an engineer,” Mehta said.
Rather than heroes, society provides stereotypes.
“There’s a perception engineers aren’t social and don’t interact with people outside the lab,” said Pratt. “Engineering is not just about sitting in the lab--although that is awesome—it is a mindset you can apply across a broader spectrum, it will help you be more effective whatever you choose to do,” she said.
Our culture also could do a better job tolerating failure and all the messiness that comes with engineering, said panelists, many of whom grew up taking things apart to explore their inner workings.
“Edison failed a hundred times to make a light bulb, but he said he didn’t fail he just learned 100 ways not to make a light bulb,” said Milluzzi.
“Kids are naturally curious, they want to see how things work, and we just need to give them a little push,” said Kakkar.
Panelists from left, Kakkar, Milluzzi, Pratt, Walker and Mehta.
Sunil, this is what I was talking about. As Duane said, the link to his articles may be appropriate. However, linking to his interviews and other news articles *about* him is more PR stunt than anything. Hope I am not being rude, just my honest opinion.
Hi Amit, I am not commenting on whether or not Shachi is capable of great things. I was just pointing out that it is not correct for his dad to repeatedly spam various articles with links to Shachi's articles. (Just today he commented once again on this article with a link to an interview with Shachi)
Hi Anshul, though i would have not written it, but it seems that you are stopping someone at personal level. I have seen couple of blogs by Shachi .. I see them, as a high schooler how much he is capable for, and trying his best to get into the engineering field. I think you must support him and his thinking as a newcomer in the technology field. Nothing offensive here ?
Hi Duane, I would generally agree as well. However, I had a quick look at his twitter as well as a few other articles, and it looks more and more like spam to me. Please take a look and let me know what you think: twitter.com/weverifyit
In most cases, I would agree. However, in this case, Shachi, the blog author was mentioned in the original article here and EDN is an eeTimes sister publication. Shachi mentioned his dad as an inspiration getting him on the engineering path, which is the subject of the article.
In my opinion, this is just an example of good parental support that is right on the subject of the original article. Not everyone gets parental inspiration. Some get it from teachers or other mentors, some from people they don't even known and some create it internally. But, the more kids we can inspire to pursue a career creating things, the better off we'll all be.
I cannot agree more, with you. There is a lot of glamour attached now to Wozniaks, Jobs, Gates and Ellisons of today, but we are no where close to the status of sports and acting stars. Shachi has attempted to change some of that perception in his EDN blogs by trying to compare Olympians and NBA stars to engineers. Below is a link to his EDN blogs:
I will also explore with him if he can do a few blogs on the valuable role of women in engineering.
Engineers and technology minded people are, in general, much more respected today than when I was young. There are role models in real life and in media, but still nowhere near as many or as high a profile role models as in sports, acting and other non-technical fields. I don't have a problem with those other fields having stars. I just wish there were more engineering and science stars. There has been a lot of improvement in that direction though.
What I find most disappointing is the negative image girls still have and get about technology. I think it has a lot more negative social stigma that it does with boys and it's long past time for that gap to be gone.
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.