TED Conversations

  • Jun 14 2013: I am a mechanical engineer, and I would not work in the fossil fuel industry.
    This is a conversation that my wife and I have had, and we are in agreement that it is against our values.

    Aside from my personal reservations, it's clear to me that kids don't play the same way anymore.

    When I was young, I played a lot with LEGO, and they were bricks and other basic shapes. I would build things and make up stories.
    Now, when I look at LEGO, the stories and the characters are pre-made. The shapes are very specific, and are much less universal. They don't require as much imagination. But LEGO remains one of the best kids' toys available.

    When I was young, one of my neighbors had an Atari video game. I remember watching their family play 4-way Pong. It was social interaction.
    Now, I see kids with headphones, playing games or texting, without the social interaction, where the games have simple, immutable stories.

    When I was young, I would go play in the woods with my friends, and build forts, or trails to ride our bikes.
    I don't see kids in the woods anymore.

    So, Remy, to answer your first question, today's students don't want to become engineers because they are not imaginative in the same way, they are drawn to simple stories with a punchline, and they are afraid to get dirty and work with their hands.

    For your second question, youth unemployment is at an all-time high. There is talent out there, if you're willing to train them. But those people are also globally aware. If Shell were to make real, sincere progress on making energy without dinosaur juice, or real reductions in environmental impact (could Shell go carbon-neutral?), or maybe ISO 14001 compliance, then you would see a REAL change in your corporate image.
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      Jun 15 2013: What you're saying is completely true Kevin, things are not alike and they will never be. This coming generations are totally different but we can't assume - just because of they're totally different - that this difference is negative it could actually have some negative side, but if we look closer, clearer and deeper we can see they're innovators, they're coding from the age of 9, secondary school graduate are CEO's of a companies of software companies ( I read this few months/years I believe), they're enjoying their own way of doing the stuff, they're not avoiding Engineering they're probably looking for the updated version of it, where everything is fully automated. They're probably getting the best out of us, involving and associating to make it even better. I believe.
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    Jun 16 2013: It would be fruitful, I think, Remy, if you were to indicate in some way whether you are reading the posts people contribute to your thread here and whether you might share what you have learned from these posts with anyone else at Shell.
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      Jun 16 2013: Hi Fritzie, I'm sure we'll hear from Remy soon. He may be with family today as it's a special day for some. In the meantime, as part of the TED Partnerships team, I assure you that our team and the partners who participate in these conversations read every comment our users post and are always fascinated with the insight and knowledge-sharing that comes out of the TED.com community. Thanks for being such an active participant, and for all the time and thought you put in to your contributions.
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        Jun 16 2013: Thanks, Shanna, for taking the time to share this information with the community who participate here. I think you can see in the many posts in the thread that people are concerned they are perhaps not being heard as they reply in good faith to the question at issue in the thread. I am sure everyone understands that a father might not respond on Father's Day.

        I think people who think about the question and reply want to know that "the partners who participate in these conversations read every comment our users post."

        This is important information, as respondents have no way of detecting this themselves.

        In terms of myself, I only want to help people get value from our conversations here.
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          Jun 16 2013: And thank you again Fritzie for your time and contributions. We have the same goal - to ensure that these conversations are meaningful and valuable to everyone who participates. This platform is so critical to the TED.com ecosystem and gives us a way to hear from some of our most active and involved community members. Please keep sharing, and know that your input is incredibly important to us, both to the partners who participate and to the TED team.

          And on a personal note, if you'd ever like to share your thoughts about the partner conversations you participate in, I'd love to hear from you. Just shoot me a message through the TED messaging system. (That goes for anyone else here who reads this message as well!)
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        Jun 17 2013: Shanna thank you for your words.
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    Jun 16 2013: Some students remember the day their engineer Mom or Dad came home and announced their employer was downsizing. Lots of folks had their landscaping cared for by former engineers. Many former engineers took-up a trade. Many more wallowed in the quagmire of the outplacement process. I think such memories have influence upon career decision making.
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    Jun 15 2013: Re: "Why don’t today’s students want to be engineers?"

    I don't know. Maybe some don't see engineering it as a noble calling, just another way to make a buck. Combine that, in the United States, with a government that only pays lip service to education and it is not a surprise.

    Globally, though, I would bet the numbers of engineers has been going up with the ascendance of China and India

    I would prefer to see talent, scientific, mathematical, and engineering, going towards solutions to our global problems rather than to feed the bottom lines of financial institutions and oil companies.
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    Jun 14 2013: There was a very interesting talk this morning at TEDGlobal by Eben Upton, the inventor of the raspberry pi computer. He echoed the theme of this discussion, saying that at Cambridge University the computer science department has noticed a large drop in both the number and ability of school leavers joining their courses (computer science) compared to the 90's. They attributed this largely to the lack of an equivalent Atari or BBC Micro computer that students and kids could be tinkering with, and so this became the inspiration for the raspberry pi, to provide the same programming access to students now as they had 20-30 years ago.

    Seeing how tech is so cheap and accessible now, I'm seeing and hearing really positive stories about putting these resources into kids' hands to explore and build as they wish. I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about this after this week's TEDGlobal event.
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    Jun 11 2013: "So how do we ensure that talent keeps coming through the pipeline?"

    Because the pipeline is currently choked up with the kind of oil that is becoming increasingly filthy, unethical and disrespectful of the Natural Environment.
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    Jun 18 2013: Fellow contributors, I would just like to take the opportunity before the conversation closes to thank all of you for engaging in the discussion and for bringing your unique ideas and perspectives to the table.

    I personally have learnt a lot through this forum and hope that others have too. I can see that this topic is clearly one that people feel passionate about and can see the need to bring it to light and do something about it rather than purely for discussion purposes. From my personal side, I will make a pledge to continue to visit local schools, and will take with me the following learnings from this conversation:
    - how can I engage more with the teachers
    - how can I best portray the STEM subjects in a fun way that connects to students (of both genders) in a way that they can get excited about
    - how can I contribute to establishing 'role models' advocating the STEM subjects for students to look up to

    In addition, I will use the discussion points from this conversation with my colleagues who are in direct support with recruitment and STEM initiatives that Shell can contribute to.

    Lastly, I would like to thank the TED organization for providing the platform and support in holding this conversation. The work that you're doing to spread ideas is a major contributor to promoting the very subjects that we've been speaking about here.

    Thanks again everyone,
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    Jun 18 2013: One thing you'll find in the American education system is that college instructors are often woefully undertrained on how to teach. If someone has a Master's degree or Ph.D. they are considered qualified to teach. First, an advanced degree is no guarantee someone understands their field. It's only a guarantee they've jumped through the necessary educational hoops to have earned the diploma. Second, even if one is highly skilled in their field that doesn't mean they know how to teach. Teaching is something that tons of people do, but only a few are really good at it. It's a specialized art that requires thousands of hours to master.

    I learned most of what I know just on-the-job and by talking to students. I was thrown into classes and basically just given a syllabus, textbook and wished the best of luck. Some of the classes I shouldn't have been teaching. But, according to my degree I was qualified and the school I was working for at the time kept faculty to a minimum and almost everyone was part-time.

    Part-time! Now, there's something to consider. Each 10-week terms I was teaching five or six four-hour classes. So, I was spending 20-24 hours on average in the classroom. That didn't include prep time, grading time and time for administrative tasks. The school was running five 10-week terms a year. So, I was a full-time instructor on part-time pay with no benefits. I was also working another teaching job generally teaching three online classes each term--again, part-time with no benefits. I never had time to evaluate what I did. I just frantically moved from one class the next. It's no wonder teachers get burnt out and leave!
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    Jun 17 2013: Remy--I don't think students should study math. Okay, now I've grabbed everyone's attention. Next, he's going to tell us we shouldn't teach English. Correct, that is what I would say. So, let me explain what I mean by not teaching math or English. In our education system we've taken knowledge and the application of knowledge and broken it down into distinct, artificial categories. We have a math class, an English class or a science class. Everything is in its neat little box and detached from everything else.

    This creates some huge problems. First, in the real world problem solving often requires interdisciplinary thinking. One problem may require me to apply math, writing, art, science or other disciplines. So, why are we teaching things in dissected little boxes?

    Second, think how things like math are studied. We're dealing with some unknown train leaving New York at 40 mph and another unidentified train leaving Los Angeles at 60 mph and want to know when the twain shall meet? Who cares and why should they? It's not connected to anything that has meaning to the student or instructor. What happens when a mental discipline is detached from meaning? We go through the motions--emotionally detached from the process. It's just a mental chore to be completed.

    Now, think about something you love. Wait a tick? Isn't love an emotion? Or, hate? Or, joy? If something moves us emotionally we cant' stop THINKING about it. The heart is the engine of the mind! So, I'm not a big fan of breaking everything down into discrete disciplines.

    I hope you can see where I'm coming from. Should we teach and should kids learn math? Of course! But, it shouldn't be in the detached, sterile environment of an hour-long block called math class! Until math is taught in a way that connects to real world applications that students care about we're going to have difficulty teaching it. Once we start to teach it in real-world, emotionally-engaging contexts people will learn and love it!
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      Jun 17 2013: Brett, I find it really interesting what you've said and your 'radical' approach to 'teaching' math. I have to agree that putting subjects into discrete disciplines does isolate them, and opens up the opportunities to arise such as "I'm only good at English, and can't do math." I think it's a something we can aspire to reach in the education system, however not something I've come across before. Do you know of a system which encompasses this 'radical' approach. If so, I'd very much like to hear about it!
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        Jun 17 2013: Probably the best single source on this for your bookshelf is the Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, edited by R. Keith Sawyer. Several decades of experiences in this sort of authentic, situated pedagogy are described by leading teacher-researchers in the field. ISBN 0-521-60777-9.

        In terms of key words, this has for the last few decades gone by the name Project-Based Learning. There is lots of material online in this area.

        You or others at Shell probably know about FIRST Robotics and Science Olympiad both of which are national programs . FIRST almost always needs engineers from local firms to mentor teams and fund materials. Around here Microsoft and Boeing have definitely been involved in these as well as engineering professionals from smaller firms.
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          Jun 17 2013: Remy & Fritzie: project-based learning is one way such a teaching/learning paradigm is applied. This really isn't a new idea. Think how teaching was done long ago. A student would be trained by a master and it would be based on hands-on, real-world learning.

          We also need to look at the fundamental similarities between disciplines. For example, you mention someone who is good at English, but bad at math. Consider the two subjects. Both are languages that require the use of symbolic interaction. Both require the use of logic. Both require forming arguments--think about geometry proofs or a persuasive essay. Great mathematicians are extremely creative people. And, so are great writers.

          Underlying both disciplines are creativity, critical thinking and the ability to make logical connections. While the artwork of a great writer and mathematician looks much different, the mental brush strokes underlying the creation of those works of art bear striking similarities.
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          Jun 18 2013: Thank you both Brett and Fritzie for this thread. You've highlighted some novel (from my view) methodologies and resources which I will certainly pursue.
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        Jun 18 2013: I am glad that you found some of what you were looking for.
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      Jun 18 2013: You are right. None of it is new at all. Pedagogical strategies tap into opportunities for such 'transfer."

      One classic in which this is laid out is Jerome Bruner's 1960 classic The Process of Education, which is the first reading a lot of us have been assigned in our teacher training ever since.
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    Jun 16 2013: Hi everyone, and please accept my sincere apologies for not replying over the weekend. I’ve been without access to the discussion forum and will do my best to reply to posts first thing tomorrow morning.
    Please continue to use the discussion forum as it was intended, and thanks to everyone for contributing thus far.
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    Jun 16 2013: We need to get children interested in these subjects early on. Hosting events at schools is one way to influence our youth in this way. It's a matter of creating real passion for these subjects. That shouldn't be too difficult as science and technology are interesting, even for kids.

    Companies that want innovators need to help plant the seeds of innovation. It is not enough to rely on society to produce such interest. It just wont happen that way.

    Many bright minds may feel that careers like this are out of their reach. It's important to show them the path, not just talk about how interesting it may be. Kids need to be shown the benefits of such careers. If you can get a young mind hooked now, it will produce that passion these jobs require.

    Another problem is the modern family. Some of these kids are burdened by all kinds of environmental factors. Programs after school that promote these subjects is not a bad idea. Get them involved early and watch them grow into innovators.

    We also need to educate the parents. Teach them the possible pathways for their children. Workshops, science clubs, and a solid marketing campaign wouldn't hurt either.

    Make these careers something kids can touch now, not something they think is reserved for genius minds or rich kids. Making these paths more clear can have positive impacts on the number of students selecting these careers.

    We need programs that facilitate this passion. Something a child can get into now that promotes this choice.
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      Jun 17 2013: Hi Henry,
      Thanks for your post - you’ve raised some interesting points here. Do you have some experience with the types of initiatives you’ve mentioned? Perhaps you could share some of your learnings?
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    Jun 16 2013: Hi Remy, as instigator and initiator of this thread/post and in consideration that individually you are representing a Global Brand, I wonder, is this something that you are managing alone or are the replies/communications something that is being done on a team/collective basis or are they solely on your own?
    The significance of this questioning is so that I am better able to contemplate the replies or lack therof to posts that have been made via this forum. Posts here do not come much more aligned or targeted/qualified in terms of a focus group and in my opinion thereby necessitate a much more aligned company involvement in tendered posts here, so that the conversation thread can be more formally/scientifically as well as group interaction co-ordinated to better take advantage of FREE consumer inputs from a socio demographic that is most likely best placed to sagely advise company advantageous ways to move forward!
    For example, you have not acknowledged one of my posts which I have put considerable thought and I thought insight into and as such your brand is diminished in my opinion , for the reasons I have mentioned above.
    If you are going to post as a global brand in my opinion, then you need to be able to act as a global brand that can speak to a global audience without alienating it's audience!
    There is waaay much more to operating a business than any one individual can appreciate and it is only thru a group/effort that it is practical for any real traction. I do appreciate that your heart, Remy is in the right place, however In my opinion, this endeavour is something best attempted with a company wholistic approach, so that everything is covered and incorporated, so that one individual alone is not trying to cover all the bases.
    All the contributors here are individuals, however Shell as a company is not, as such I think the company really needs to become very much more actively involved in posts here to validate our support and that of the brand TED! : D
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      Jun 16 2013: Time Traveler, I think typically when there is only a small audience in question, a company might well designate an individual to represent it for the purpose. There are only fifty or sixty posts here in nearly a week, right?

      A week ago when a hotel chain sponsored a thread about global businesses engaging locally, the single designated spokesperson participated actively. I don't believe that firm designated more than one person for that role and it worked fine, I believe.
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        Jun 17 2013: Hi Time Traveller/Fritzie,
        As I hope you’ve seen, I was unable to reply to posts over the weekend, and hope that you do not see this as a lack of engagement/interest from my part.

        As a petrophysicist and a technical professional, I do not represent Shell’s wider business so am unable to answer some of the points which are being raised. But I really do want to talk about this education issue so if anyone's got a question about engineering or petrophysics and studying either of the two, I’m all ears!

        In answer to your other question, Shell’s communications team is providing me with support – for example where I’ve been asked about related Shell initiatives – e.g. our recruitment - which I am not involved with in my day-to-day role. What I do see in my current role is that each year we take on a number of graduates through internships during their university courses, and others once they have finished their degrees. For the last 2 summers I’ve seen interns number 10+ in a department which only comprises of around 80 people. Many of these interns go on to hold full-time positions after their internships in the company.

        The conversation so far has raised some very interesting insights which will be shared with my colleagues, and particularly those in the UK who work with schools to encourage interest in the STEM subjects. I’d like to hear from others as to what methods they’ve found to be successful at approaching this subject. In the spirit of TED, sharing ideas can be a fruitful process!
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          Jun 17 2013: Thank you for taking the time. I am sure those to whom you reply appreciate your interest in their thoughts on your question.
    • Jun 17 2013: As an ex-Shell Techie (CIO in Shell Renewables circa 2005) I found this to be a common problem in Shell though probably not uncommon in other large brand companies. Their internal PR and 'outreach' capacity is massive and rivals some of the best Madison avenue ever conceived. It is also often out-of sync with itself and puts insanely massive amounts of resources in one area to no avail while other good projects wither for lack of minimum resources. I absolutely guarantee you Remy had to go pretty high up to get this shell branded forum approved though more likely he is merely playing a role Shell asked him to play.

      I'm sorry people-- but consider just for a moment-- do you think Shell is really interested in raising the number and quality of people seeking engineering jobs for the good of the planet or perhaps just asking some of the smartest people in the room to give them insight on how Shell can get what it needs.
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    Jun 16 2013: Shell employs approximately 1,500 geoscientists worldwide. Approximately 300 geoscientists are based in the United States, and over 90% of the geoscientists have a MS or PhD degree.

    As a result of fewer women graduating with Engineering degrees, only 6pc of the engineering workforce is made up by women and only 12pc are working in the wider STEM sector.

    How many jobs are out there. I saw 29 on the BrightRecruits website. Most of them were for Post Doc. Students. 9 were located in the United States.

    There appears to be a lot of competition for Engineering and Physics Students throughout other industries. How far is Shell willing to allow, Geologists and other scientific graduates, the opportunity to do their own, personal based research or research that involves some organization they belong to, on the side? Will shell offer contracts that make everything a Scientist or engineer creates in the privacy of their bathroom the personal property of Shell or will there be some negotiating room?

    With many student clamouring for freedom of information and freedom to patent their own works, how much independence and patent freedom is Shell willing to give their future Scientific and Engineering employees?

    How many Post Doc., Undergraduates, etc. does Shell need at this time?
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      Jun 17 2013: "How far is Shell willing to allow, Geologists and other scientific graduates, the opportunity to do their own, personal based research or research that involves some organization they belong to, on the side? Will shell offer contracts that make everything a Scientist or engineer creates in the privacy of their bathroom the personal property of Shell or will there be some negotiating room?

      With many student clamouring for freedom of information and freedom to patent their own works, how much independence and patent freedom is Shell willing to give their future Scientific and Engineering employees?

      How many Post Doc., Undergraduates, etc. does Shell need at this time?"
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    Jun 14 2013: I think this is a PR problem.

    In the 60's everyone wanted to become an engineer as the space race was on and caught the imagination of the young people back then.

    In the 70's it was all things artsy

    In the 80's it was about money managers

    In the 90's it was all things computer

    In the zeroes it was a public servant

    Now I would guess it would be all things green?

    You need to hook up with a PR company on this matter, it is what they do.
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    Jun 14 2013: I think the disinterest in STEM fields, particularly in the field of engineering is a futuristic expression on the part of the young minds where they see the present paradigm of STEM from a purely resource point of view. The current ecological/environmental awareness plays a significant role in this IMO. The idea that human ingenuity can limitlessly extract utility out of natural resources to feed the ever increasing demands of a life devoid of a standard of luxury is under challenge. Can it be so that young minds want to stop and ponder about the role of a driver first and then redesign the engine?

    Your question is very interesting as it includes the energy sector. I, myself an engineer, recently failed to persuade my son to go for engineering studies. As for the energy question, his response was that we already know that nature has produced a machine like a human brain that functions on energy of about 10 watts. So, he thinks, we should study that process better and reverse engineer.

    I am not not sure if we shouldn’t need to know what’s under the hood of a car to drive it. I think we already worry about what’s under the hood when we take into account the environment and the monthly fuel bill.

    I am from India and may be as a developing country it is a different mix here.
  • Jun 13 2013: So how do we ensure that talent keeps coming through the pipeline?

    you cant, they are free people and they get to choose.

    If there is a shortage, well, that speaks volumes about how they perceive the oil and gas industry, dont you think?
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    Jun 12 2013: For the most part, science eliminates the need to engage in science. It is perfectly possible to use the fruits of science without ever understanding a bit of it. Just like speaking the language without understanding the grammar or driving the car without knowing what's under the hood. Thanks to the progress in science it is possible to design a website, an app or a computer game without knowing anything about programming. We can only imagine what will be the effect of the popularization of 3D printers, when everybody will suddenly become an engineer.

    I am not saying it is bad though. By becoming simple science will atract the masses. The effect may be the same as in art - a lot of crap, but every now and then a genius will be born.
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    Jun 12 2013: You make a good point that low interest in joining high tec engineering is something we should all be concerned about, allow me to suggest 2 possible reasons for reluctance to join the Oil and gas industry:

    1. Climate change: You appear to have forgotten that we face a climate crisis. Of course we cannot switch off oil and gas instantaneously, but the oil industry seems intent on ensuring that cash-cow is milked for as long as it can extend that vision. There is an absolute inconsistency between the oil and gas industry having any long-term future (as an oil and gas industry) and us (humanity and the other species that occupy this planet) having a long-term future. Hopefully upcoming engineers have appreciated this and want nothing of an industry that if it is allowed to continue as is, will ensure we enter the next despeciation event.
    2. Corruption: I have spent a serious part of the last 15 years investigating corruption in the oil industry. Many will see this as an inevitable part of this sector - but actually, oil and gas companies are part of the problem. We are on the verge (finally) of seeing greater transparency forced on the sector through laws in the US and in the EU - though the industry (and your company in particular) has spent considerable effort tryiing to litigate these laws in the US and prevent meaningful versions being adopted in the EU. Happily, this has not been successful. This is all the more important when you consider the kinds of deals that have been put together - for example, Shell and Eni's acquisition of Nigerian Oil block, OPL-245 is a case in point. Both companies paid US$1.1 billion to the Nigerian Government, which immediately paid the same money to accounts earmarked for a company owned by Dan Etete, a convicted money launderer and ex-oil minister, who gave himself the oil block they purchased when minister. Are we supposed to accept this as credible - Shell officials enjoying "iced champagne" with Etete in lead-up?
  • Avi Dey

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    Jun 11 2013: QUESTION: A conversation with Shell: Why don’t today’s students want to be engineers?

    Conversation: This is a valuable question for America going forward from this second decade of 21st Century. Thank you.

    I granduated with an electrical engineering degree and while I was working as a practicing engineer in a celulose accetate factory I attended night school at NYU to get my MBA. As an engineer I and being active in the technical professional society ieee.org , we have had deep discussion on the issue of how to address this issue of motivating today's high school and college students to consider science and engineering studies.

    It's a complex issue that will not be easily solved as new insights are needed as to how to modify the way science is tought at high school and undergrad in typical state universities today.

    But clearly educational process based on new discoveries about the way people learn is yet to be tried in pilot studies in a serious way in K12 education. This is issue of education will remain a challange as cultural change and philosophy of experimentaton in education is not easy to implement.

    As an example, one topic which I have published on the internet is this topic based on new knowledge of education that has emerged in the last decade or so.

    The title of my brief photo article is this available on a Google Search Box item for added clarity :

    Education Social Entrepreneurs Community Spirit Building Blueprint A
  • Jun 11 2013: It always looked to me the problem started much more earlier on a persons life. The stereotype that engineers are naturally gifted for maths is part of the problem. Added to the tendencies to disregard bad grades on STEM related subjects as "he/she is not good at maths, it's not that terrible". Simply put students end up believing STEM related skills are a natural talents and not to be developed capabilities. Which clearly will make students - which are not naturally gifted for this subjects or really level headed, disregards STEM careers.
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    Jun 11 2013: Thanks to all for the responses to the discussion point so far.

    I think it's important to promote science and engineering in all areas, be that renewables, medical, automotive or energy. There is an overlap of transferable skills between these sectors so in terms of future jobs, gaining the necessary science/engineering skills would benefit them all and really drive development and innovation.

    Communicating the breadth of engineering and science skills is something I'm personally trying to improve by visiting local schools and exploring the possibilities with the students. Indeed it is the awareness of these jobs which students do not know about. How do we make them 'cool' again?
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      Jun 11 2013: I think science and technology jobs have never seemed cooler and thus the great shift toward them in the choices of incoming college students. I think TED Talks provide one of the ways of communicating how "cool" cutting edge scientific inquiry is.

      Beyond this, if kids in school had more opportunity to design and build working artifacts at school- supervised tinkering, they would be more likely to develop a taste for that sort of work.
    • Jun 13 2013: awareness of these jobs?.... awareness of what jobs be specific.
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    Jun 18 2013: Go Well, Go Shell ! : D
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    Jun 18 2013: My final thoughts on the topic here, combined with some of my earlier suggestions in other posts, may offer some answers to the question, Remy.

    A radio program that I listened to last night was discussing subject material that was aligned I thought to the thread here. Apparently females, who make up 51% of the worlds population are dramatically under-represented in the engineering world.

    The culture, is very male biased/oriented to the detriment of providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for females.

    If sex sells, then engineering in this respect is clearly selling itself short. If more females were attracted to the industry, then by default more males would also be.

    If a clear change of culture was embraced and the number of female engineers was closer to their male counterpart numbers, then I believe there would be no skills shortage.

    Moreover, a female perspective also needs to be included/incorporated into projects to better balance out the viewpoints and perspectives.

    Role models are also lacking, to inspire and motivate new students to take up the discipline!

    Fundamentally however, especially with respect to a world wide blanket media coverage of global warming etc, the message needs to be as initially mentioned in your opening post Remy, along the lines of how SHELL is moving forward into the future, in terms of the energy sector.

    Keep doing the same thing and expect to get the same results. Sure, it is always easy to pick the low lying fruit but to actively engage future students, you need to be actively engaged in providing them a sustainable future! : D
  • Jun 18 2013: This is also the similar situation here in China that fewer and fewer student choose science, technology or related subjects as their majors in college. Young men are getting increasingly practical nowadays, and they believe that achieving success in scientific field is a destination which seems too far to arrive. Some kind of underestimation of themselves or unwillingness of devotion drive them to choose some plain but normal occupations after graduation.

    I'm not professional about STEM or engineering, while this topic really interests me for it is really a hot issue discussed all around. I hope I would be a little helpful.
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      Jun 18 2013: To our friends from the East (Eva and Nisarg), thank you for your contributions. Based on your posts, I found this interesting study conducted by Accenture (September 2011):

      You've both raised some pertinent points. The study indicates that the greatest number of STEM graduates will be coming out of the emerging economies, and that this trend will accelerate over the coming years. Perhaps this can be expected due to the generally larger populations, however it also highlights the larger proportion of all degrees being studied that are STEM subjects, relative to developed economies.

      One of the main outcomes from the study suggests that it is not so much an issue of supply of STEM graduates, but a mismatch of where the demand for these individuals is located. There may exist real localized shortages in certain regions, however on a global basis there appears to be sufficient supply of STEM talent coming through. I'd be interested to hear what others think about these findings?
  • Jun 18 2013: In India the question would be "Why do today's students (all of them) wanna be engineers?"
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      Jun 17 2013: Hi ZX Style,
      I did indeed read your post from last week, and am sorry to hear that you feel neglected. You are right in that I've not been able to reply personally to each post, but let me be clear that the posts are being read and acknowledged.
      I'm also sorry to hear your friend did not have a good experience during his internship. Being such a large company, you will always find people that one perhaps may not agree with. I can only speak from my personal experience and say that I've only encountered a positive working environment so far.
      Thank you for your posts - your views are very much appreciated.
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    Jun 17 2013: I can't say that the teachers are doing much more than just being very good teachers. Most of them are very liberal about our choices. They always tell us to do what we love in order to reach a succesfull career, that even if you have a low paying job, your passion for what you do can get you very high. Also, they show their passion for the subject they teach, sometimes making the eyes of the most uninterested alumnis shine to how wonderful the matters of physics are.
    About school incentive, we've had a lecture about the different areas in the engineering field showing how the profession is like.
    Engineering has become a "fashion" around here. I live in a place called Joinville, in the state of Santa Catarina, which is an industrial city and most of the best engineering colleges are here. This can be why I see so many aspiring engineers.
    I think that the natural interest of the kids for determined fields in science along with the above mentioned is what makes them follow this path.