DiscoverE. Discover Engineering has a mission to celebrate engineering and introduce young people to careers in engineering.
My Childhood in a Family of Engineers
I grew up in a family of engineers. Both my parents attended Belorussian Radioengineering University in my native city of Minsk, capital of Belarus. They met there as students, married, and shortly after that I came (rather unexpectedly as it appears to be a tradition in our family) into their lives. Looking back now, I realize how my upbringing was different from what is common for middle class American families. In the former Soviet Union, both parents worked, and I attended preschool and after school programs until I was old enough to go back home by myself. Sometimes my Mom would take me to work with her. She was a "hands-on" electronics engineer and her job was to maintain giant mainframes in Belorussian Center for Electronics Communications (basically, in a hub that maintained a telephone network around our country). I remember big cold halls filled with big rectangular boxes, panels of blinking lights, and whirring magnetic tapes that occasionally tangled and broke and were fixed by my Mom and her colleagues. I remember admiring my Mom and having an unshakable belief that I could do this job too one day if I chose to.
Eventually though, I followed my father's footsteps into system engineering, because I always enjoyed math, probability, and modeling. I came to US shortly after graduating from the same university my parents attended and easily found my first job here as a software engineer. My career path evolved over years and took me to the field of technical project management, but my career progress was always aided by my belief that was laid at home - I can do any job I choose as long as I put my mind to mastering it.
Raising an Engineer
My husband is also an engineer, and he is a tinkerer. Our Smarty is pretty lucky to be growing up seeing him taking on a lot of hands-on projects, helping out with some of them, and enjoying many handmade toys he built for her. For several years she was talking about becoming a mechanical engineer, but lately her interest shifted more towards workings of our internal biological machinery and mysteries of deep space. Still, she enjoys engineering challenges, and she was very intrigued by the idea of an engineering competition. She is too young to participate now, since this competition is targeted towards middle school students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, but she was immediately busy creating her own "green machine". I will write about it in a separate post.
Join Future City Competition
If your middle school students are interested in engineering and can form a team of at least three people with their friends, they can participate in this competition. Future City allows students to learn how communities work and become more informed citizens. The theme for this year is Waste Not Want Not. It is SO important for our future success and survival of our species. The students will think about waste management and how to create green cities of the future. They can learn more on the landing page for students at Future City Competition and, perhaps, build amazing models like this one from this year's competition:
Photo credit: Thien-Kim Lam
Are your children interested in engineering careers?
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