What’s Your Inspiration?

What started you on the path to engineering or your current career? Can you identify a moment, person or thing that made you change lanes, take a turn or stopped you in your tracks?

17 years old

17 years old

Last year, I gave a keynote in Kansas City for Science Pioneers. A few minutes into it, I talked about my first car – how much fun it was to try to fix it, the book that made it possible, the Flower Power mechanics and how I knew I wanted a cleaner and more diverse career. That car was a 1962 VW Bug and lead to one of the biggest ah-ha moments in my life.

From wanting it to drive better, I learned that I had mechanical aptitude, I could rebuild an engine if the instructions were good enough, troubleshooting was fun, and a book could change your life.

holdingbugLast week, to my delight, a small box that contained a shiny red VW Bug came in the mail. As I looked at it and took my trip down memory lane, I remembered how much that car inspired me. Without that experience, how would I have discovered my mechanical ability? Would I have this love affair with books? Would I be writing this today without that experience?

Thank you Paul for reminding me about how I got here and encouraging me to continue my own journey. We are all inspired to become who we are by something or someone. Make some time for yourself to remember, appreciate and share the experience. You never know who you may inspire with your story.

 

Engineering Design = Viable Career

Life itself is an endless process of solving problems. When we use the engineering design process, students learn that engineering design, like life itself, is an endless process of solving problems. In dealing with life’s many challenges, successful adults take the same steps as the ones that students utilize in their engineering design experiences such as identifying or stating the problem, brainstorming possible solutions and then developing or building prototypes (trying it out).

According to Cary Sneider, a leading science educator and one of the writers of the Next Generation Science Standards, understanding engineering is essential for all citizens, workers, and consumers in a modern democracy. If the U.S. is to continue to play a significant role in the world economy, it is imperative that students be exposed to engineering design and problem solving thought processes. He goes on to say that the capability to formulate and solve problems is a valuable life skill. By including engineering design in classrooms across the country, students will have access to a wider range of viable careers because they will be prepared to take the appropriate courses in high school. Exposure to engineering design is also an important aspect of equity for girls and minority students.

So get your design on and let’s promote problem solving!