Recruiting Future Engineers Through Effective Guest Speaking In Elementary School Classrooms

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In this paper, the author describes how engineers can increase the number of future engineers by volunteering as guest speakers in the elementary school classroom. The paper is divided into three main subjects. First, the importance of engineers speaking directly with young students is discussed. Next, several best practice techniques for speaking with young students are described. Finally, information on getting started as a guest speaker is presented, and a list of resources available to guest speakers is provided. The guest engineer speaking to an elementary school audience (ages 6-11) performs a critical role in encouraging young students to pursue ... continued below

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Young, Kevin November 1, 2007.

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In this paper, the author describes how engineers can increase the number of future engineers by volunteering as guest speakers in the elementary school classroom. The paper is divided into three main subjects. First, the importance of engineers speaking directly with young students is discussed. Next, several best practice techniques for speaking with young students are described. Finally, information on getting started as a guest speaker is presented, and a list of resources available to guest speakers is provided. The guest engineer speaking to an elementary school audience (ages 6-11) performs a critical role in encouraging young students to pursue a career in engineering. Often, he or she is the first engineer these students meet in person, providing a crucial first impression of the engineering career field and a positive visual image of what an engineer really looks like. A dynamic speaker presenting a well-delivered talk creates a lasting, positive impression on students, influencing their future decisions to pursue careers in engineering. By reaching these students early in life, the guest speaker will help dispel the many prevailing stereotypes about engineers which discourage so many students, especially young women, from considering this career. The guest speaker can ensure young students gain a positive first impression of engineers and the engineering career field by following some best practice techniques in preparing for and delivering their presentation. The author, an electrical engineer, developed these best practice techniques over the past 10 years while presenting over 350 talks on engineering subjects to elementary school students as a volunteer speaker with the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory’s Speakers Bureau. Every engineer can make a meaningful contribution toward reversing the predicted shortfall of future engineers by volunteering to speak with young students at the elementary school level. Elementary school teachers typically have a limited education in engineering and are eager to have career engineers speak with their students. As an engineer, there are many opportunities to get involved with guest speaking at the elementary school level. If you have a young child, start by meeting with her or his teacher and volunteering to give a presentation on engineering to the class. Many organizations have formal speakers bureaus. If your organization does not have one, consider starting one. There are several excellent resources on the Internet, such as the IEEE Center for Pre-University Engineering Education’s TryEngineering.org Web site. This site is designed for young students, teachers and parents, giving information on engineering careers and engineering activities the guest speaker can use to prepare a dynamic and informative presentation. Young students who have experienced a positive interaction with an engineer are more likely to pursue a career in engineering. Effective guest speaking by engineers in elementary school classrooms today will increase the likelihood these young students will become the desperately needed engineers of our future.

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  • Meeting the Growing Demand For Engineers and Their Educators 2010 - 2020 International Summit,Munich, Germany,11/09/2007,11/11/2007

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-07-12864
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 923479
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc894617

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • November 1, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 4:45 p.m.

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Young, Kevin. Recruiting Future Engineers Through Effective Guest Speaking In Elementary School Classrooms, article, November 1, 2007; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc894617/: accessed August 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.