May 2, 2014
By Carlos Ostria, and Heidi VanLuven, both AMT Associates
Last week we celebrated Bring Your Child to Work Day by showing 34 of our employees’ children what we do for a living. Days like this make one think of the future. These will be the people taking over for us when we retire. Or will they?
The National Math and Science Initiative reports that less than half of U.S. 2013 high school grads are ready for college-level math and even fewer are ready for college-level science. The statistics are worse from there particularly when comparing our students internationally.
The U.S. Department of Education, the White House and many of the science and engineering associations have programs to try and encourage young people to take up engineering and the sciences.
In order to turn this around, we in our industry have a duty to constantly help promote youth education in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. How do we do this? We do it by constantly highlighting the virtues of the technical disciplines and their many accomplishments in a way that the youth of today can relate to. Forty five years ago the Apollo program put a man in the moon (and brought them back). That led to countless spin-offs such as the CAT scan, water filters, satellite TV, the computer microchip, and many others. In 2001 Apple invented the iPod which changed the way we listen to music; this led to the iPhone in 2007 which revolutionized the way we communicate. All of these achievements were in a large part due to the STEM fields!
To encourage students to pursue science and technology, the Murphy Tuomey/A. Morton Thomas Scholarship is offered through the Society of Military Engineers. This $3,000 scholarship is given every year to a student pursuing engineering, architecture or environmental science (nominations are currently open http://samedcpost.org/docs/scholarship.pdf). We also bring interns into the office in varying disciplines and are sure to provide entry-level opportunities and mentor those who fill them to help ensure their success.
As a company, we have a notable involvement in National Engineers Week. Our Rockville headquarters presents at Discover Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. We also participate in Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day through the Women’s Transportation Seminar in Baltimore during that week.
We participate in a number of high school and college career days designed to help students make choices about their careers—some sponsored by the schools and some by the transportation industry itself.
It’s time we celebrate those who have the smarts to take on the challenges involved in solving the problems and creating the technology in our world. We need to encourage the youth to enter these fields to make the technological and built worlds even more amazing than it already is.