Founded in December 2014 by Bill Woodburn, Engineering Tomorrow’s mission (www.engtom.org) is to introduce high school students, particularly female and minorities to the field of engineering. According to the program coordinator, Megan Barrett, “The United States is lagging in this field, and interactions provide an opportunity to reach top math and science students.” The agenda for the day, which involved students from Our Lady of Lourdes, Albertus Magnus and John S. Burke high schools, included short presentations and then students were divided into 2 groups to perform different experiments. This conference concentrated on Water Safety, with experiments in Water Reuse and Desalination. Both groups had the opportunity to work in both areas. Michael Legg, Executive Director of Engineering Tomorrow discussed that they have different experiments that they rotate amongst different conferences that can include Robotics, Wind Power, Solar, or Civil engineering. “We want to help schools start engineering clubs, and we also do field trips to wastewater plants, a CPV Shore Power Plant in New Jersey, and we are planning to take students on a Tappan Zee Bridge visit of the new bridge,” said Legg. He goes on to say, “Our organization has made a five-year commitment to the Archdiocese of New York to continue these programs. Our goal is to hold these conferences once a month along with plant tours.”
What makes Thursday’s program so unique is that is was run completely by engineers who volunteer their time to participate. Erik Einset and Damien Flanagan of Global Infrastructure Partners ran Thursday’s program with the help of additional volunteers from Xylem Inc., a large American water technology provider. “All are top notch professional engineers,” remarked Legg. Engineer Jay Iyengar, was the keynote speaker during the lunch break, speaking to the students about her career path and experiences.
In summing up the day, Lourdes students Julia Schlottmann, Brianna Yi and Olivia Babb all agreed that they liked that most of the day involved “hands-on” activities. It really gave them a chance to engage and learn about what was happening in the experiments. All were thrilled with the opportunity to participate.
Click below for news coverage from the conference: