Every winter, we celebrate Engineers Week by learning about the various types of engineering, such as mechanical, electrical, civil, computer, software, aerospace, and others. We learn about many famous engineers and their contributions, but most importantly, we understand what it takes to become an engineer. This time is particularly meaningful to me, since I was lucky enough to grow up with an engineer. In 1953, my uncle Ted was one of the first Black students to earn a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He was an avid engineer and always told my siblings, cousins, and me how exciting it was to have a career where he worked with teams of people to solve big problems that would help others.
His career was focused on finding ways to improve transportation. He did this during his 25 years in the Space Program as a Rocket Scientist and later through his work at the American Public Transportation Association, where he consulted with cities around the globe to help design their public transportation systems.
His passion for transportation and how it impacts people’s lives started at a young age, when he was introduced to model trains and designing train cities. This led to my uncle’s fulfilling lifetime career as an engineer.
This video from NASA is a great example that describes how engineers fix and build things that people need:
We never know what will spark a person’s interest or where it will lead, which is why Engineers Week – and recognizing the achievements of engineering year-round – is so important. It gives us an opportunity to apply our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills in new and interesting ways. There are big problems all around us that are waiting to be solved every day.
STEM skills are valued by employers in all industries. See the latest analysis from staffing agency Adecco here: