Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day

Not all of the Usual Suspects mention it, but Thursday, February 21 will be Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day.

Image obtained from Whiting School of Engineering
of John Hopkins University.
We need more engineers in the United States, period. Too many of 'our' American engineering graduates are taking their talents back home to India or China, where new engineers are also being produced in carload lots. If America is to compete in a global economy, we need all the engineers we can develop -- and, historically, in encouraging careers in engineering, we've ignored half our population. This must stop.

How can you help?

If you have daughters or granddaughters, obviously, encourage them to think about careers in engineering. But 'encouragement' is not enough.

Engineering is a practical discipline, and there are practical steps that parents can take to help make their child ready for a possible engineering career: First, every child should finish the first year course in algebra before graduating from grammar school. Completion of Algebra I in 8th grade puts a child on the road to possibly take introductory calculus before finishing high school. It is the small pool of kids who arrive on campus with AP Calculus credit from whom the majority of tomorrow's engineers will come. We've got to make that pool bigger -- and more co-ed. If your junior high does not demand Algebra I from at least your school's best and brightest, you should demand that your school raise its expectations.

Thursday will also be National Sticky Bun Day and International Mother Language Day. We don't know how to work sticky buns into the equation -- although we're more than willing -- but we can see where it would be good to combine a facility for multiple languages and a talent for engineering.

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