As we celebrate Engineers Week, I want to reflect on my own experience as an engineer, and the importance of giving back and sharing my experience with others. For the past several years, I have participated in my Alma Mater UW-Platteville’s career fair. I have also taken the initiative to coordinate with various engineering professors to give presentations and guest lectures for students there. Additionally, I have participated in FutureQuest, working with school-age kids to get them interested and engaged in the engineering field.
Why do I do this? Well, the short answer is just to give back to the industry. I love being an engineer, and if I can expose kids and young people to the field and inspire them to pursue a career in engineering, then it’s worth it for me. I also really enjoy being able to share my perspective on an area of engineering that is not commonly brought up in traditional civil engineering classes—aviation engineering. I have personal experience with this important aspect of engineering that I can impart to others, something that feels especially vital as our nation faces a talent shortage in the aviation industry.
I feel it is important to engage kids as young as possible, and foster that interest early on across a variety of demographics so that our industry can continue to prosper. Throughout my time working with young people, I have learned that the best way to engage someone is to show the something concrete, something they can physically relate to. That real-world perspective can make all the difference when it comes to taking an interest in engineering to the next level.
Going deeper, what really drives me to continue to strive to inspire people to explore engineering is the idea of leaving things better than when I find them. This idea informs my personal and professional life—it certainly applies to project work we do for clients. But I find it also applies to our communities. Working to engage youth in the engineering industry serves to enhance and strengthen our community. That’s why I do it.