Engaging young minds with Control Engineering
Engineering at 30 Frames: What did you do for Engineers Week? Learn about events and programs set on engaging more young engineers for a lifetime of learning.
In December 2011, I posted an item on Consulting-Specifying Engineer about the State of Engineering Education - the conclusions were a bit startling to me; here are some notable bits of information I found out:
- It’s reported that only 45% of high school graduates are prepared for college-level mathematics and only 30% for science.
- Electrical Engineering degrees awarded have decreased by 15% from 2001 to 2010.
- Recent New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles point out that over 60% of engineering graduates are not working in technical fields post graduation, and the numbers of young engineers switching out of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields within the first two years is staggeringly high.
This is the perfect time to be discussing the state of engineering education and programs engaging students in STEM earlier in the education process since Engineers Week 2012 is February 19 – 25. I feel it’s important to highlight programs geared towards young engineers, STEM programs, and offer suggestions to grow our field for the future.
Of course, the National Engineers Week Foundation and Engineers Week is an excellent place to start. Over the last 61 years and through several events, Engineers Week brings attention to the need (and fun!) of increasing excitement and accessibility to STEM fields.
These engaging programs include: the Future City Competition, in which young engineers design cities of the future using SimCity 4 and 3D tabletop models; Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, which allows young women to learn directly from women in STEM fields ; and Family Day, which encourages families to get involved together with STEM education. Companies like IBM have joined Engineers Week, offering guidance and activities for students interested in engineering.
Companies traditionally thought of as toy makers are now moving into schools and universities, to assist in applying STEM education – one such company, Lego, has a line of products designed for this exact purpose.
College engineering programs across the nation are also looking to present more of the application of engineering, which often appears as a game but reinforces the principle concepts of fields like Control Engineering; one such example is a Dynamic Systems & Control course at Northern Illinois University, which utilizes a racing video game to teach the fundamentals of how to write algorithms for a machine to regulate itself.
What are you or your firm doing to increase awareness and interest in STEM fields? Discuss in the comments section or in Control Engineering’s LinkedIn Group online.
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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey