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How To Talk About Engineering

Are you getting ready to talk about engineering to youth?  What isn’t working, according to the marketing experts from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) “Changing the Conversation” 2008 report, is describing engineering solely using the skill sets required to obtain a degree in Engineering.  Stereotyped descriptions, such as engineers need a superior knowledge in math and science, combined with the fact most people just don’t know what engineers do have turned off a large portion of our youth. 

To improve the public understanding of engineering, the NAE recommends re-framing the way engineering is portrayed. Discuss engineering by using the values that it offers people and the community. “ENGINEERS ARE CHANGING THE WORLD ALL OF THE TIME. THEY DREAM UP CREATIVE, PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS AND WORK WITH OTHER SMART, INSPIRING PEOPLE TO INVENT, DESIGN, AND CREATE THINGS THAT MATTER.” By putting engineering in context, our youth will be able to gain a better understanding of how they can make a contribution in this world through rewarding careers in engineering.

The NAE public relations campaign recommends using these updated marketing-based research-tested messaging. Top messaging proven effective to explain “What is Engineering”: Engineers make a world of difference; Engineers are creative problem solvers; Engineering is essential to our health, happiness and safety; Engineers help shape the future. Taglines: turn ideas into reality, because dreams need doing.

Here are a few more tips from DiscoverE on effectively talking to kids about engineering.