It's not every day that we come across a music video extolling the virtues of engineering salaries, but we have one today, and it comes from the most unlikely of sources.
The football program at the Missouri University of Science and Technology has produced a video targeting high school players who want to study engineering. Instead of listing graduates who have made it to the National Football League, the program's coaches use the unusual video to emphasize the high starting salaries of engineering graduates.
To a backdrop of the song "Good Feeling" by the rapper Flo Rida, the video explains that the university's graduates have an average starting salary of $60,000 a year. Then a scrolling screen breaks down the average for each engineering discipline: $83,201 for petroleum engineering, $55,533 for aerospace, $57,108 for electrical, $57,910 for mechanical, $59,513 for nuclear, and so on.
"It's really for the parents," David Brown, former Missouri S&T football coach and one of the video's creators, told us. "When you have that big investment in college, you want your student to get an education, but you also want them to have a degree that will mean something financially and professionally."
For many of us, the video serves as a reminder that an engineering degree is a great way to start a career, despite the grumbling about salaries we may hear around the office. Each year, engineering students dominate virtually every list of highest-paid graduates. And those students don't necessarily have to depend on costly graduate degrees (or ultra-costly medical or law school educations) to draw those salaries.
The video also serves as a pleasant rejection of pop culture stereotypes in a couple of important ways. In the world of athletic recruiting, high school students are often approached by big, prestigious schools as athletes first and students second. Some are even discouraged from enrolling in curricula (such as engineering) that might require intense study. Here, however, that's not the case. Brown said the school holds its practices at 6:30 a.m. to accommodate class and lab schedules.
Moreover, Missouri S&T's approach flies in the face of the tiresome nerd image that we see too often on television. Seventy percent of the school's football players are engineering majors, including many on athletic scholarships.
At a time when politicians are finding it necessary to push science, technology, engineering, and mathematics initiatives and NCAA programs are too often getting out of control and embarrassing themselves, Missouri S&T's video is a nice reminder that it doesn't have to be that way. Here, the student-athlete model lives on. And students don't have to be pushed into engineering -- they are drawn instead by the real-world benefits of the degree.
"We tell our recruits, 'If you're interested in engineering, you can always go to a school with a bigger stadium, but that's going to fade in your memory,'" Brown said. "'But the degree you'll get from here is going to be profitable for a long time to come.'"