Overcoming Invisibility: Helping Students Envision their Futures as Engineers

NEW PROGRAMS AIM TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO CAREER POSSIBILITIES

Engineering has a bit of an invisibility problem, says Arizona State University education researcher Tirupalavanam Ganesh.

It’s an obstacle that presents a particularly acute challenge for efforts to spark interest in the field among youngsters.

“Engineers do things that impact a lot of everyday life, but you don’t see engineers portrayed in movies, video games or on TV and the other things that are shaping youngsters’ views of the world,” says Ganesh, an associate research professor and the assistant dean of engineering education in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

“They know entertainment celebrities, and they know sports stars. But they don’t know the engineers who created the microchip that makes their computers work,” he adds. “It’s not on their radar.”

A result is that many bright and motivated young students — and their parents — aren’t including engineering on the list of potential careers when they start giving serious thought to their futures.

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