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ChasChas
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Re: Good approach
ChasChas   4/18/2012 12:50:00 PM
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I noticed that too, Dave. Women engineers tend to favor engineering disciplines that require more rote memory than those disciplines that depend more on strong logic. 



 

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Good approach
Rob Spiegel   4/18/2012 12:14:58 PM
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I agree that first one was a complex design, Chuck. I was impressed with the high level of complexity all through this slide show. It makes me wonder to what degree CAD programs and simulation were involved. I would imagine computers might be behind this new level of complexity.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Good approach
Rob Spiegel   4/18/2012 12:07:31 PM
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That's a good question, NadineJ. As a father of two daughters, I would hope more girls are participating in STEM school projects and in careers, especially since women are making such advances in most areas of higher education. Not sure, though.

Dave Palmer
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Platinum
Re: Good approach
Dave Palmer   4/18/2012 10:28:29 AM
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@NadineJ: I'm not sure what effect these competitions are having, but I do think that engineering is (slowly) becoming less male-dominated.  However, progress is uneven among engineering disciplines.

When I was in college -- a little less than a decade ago -- nearly half of the chemical and biomedical engineering students were women.  There were fewer women in civil engineering, fewer still in electrical engineering, and hardly any in mechanical and aerospace engineering. (I don't have actual numbers; these are just my impressions).

In my own department, materials engineering, there were only three women undergraduates, but there were only about a dozen total students.  Overall, women seem to be better represented in materials engineering than in most other engineering disciplines besides chemical and biomedical.

It would be interesting to know why some disciplines have remained more male-dominated than others.

FIRSTWerkz
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Iron
FIRST Needs You
FIRSTWerkz   4/18/2012 9:29:01 AM
Good article.  I'd like to add that every one of these teams of students has engineers like us mentoring them, encouraging them, and helping them develop buildable robots out of sometimes challenging brainstorm session outcomes.  The only thing limiting even more teams being formed is local engineers volunteering to get involved.  You can really make a difference!  Watching these kids eyes light up when something they daydreamed becomes a working piece of equipment is incredible!  Find a team and get involved.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Re: Young Designers Flex Their Engineering Chops
Beth Stackpole   4/18/2012 7:00:50 AM
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@bobengr: I'm with you in hoping that these competitions can stimulate more interest in STEM jobs as a career. I think that just seeing the fruits of these student competitors' labor shows how engineering and manufacturing jobs are evolving in this day and age and how it demands a very different skill set than what was expected in the earlier decades.

Chuck: I believe the Buckeye Bullet still holds the record for fastest EV. These guys are pushing the envelope so much that President Obama recently visited them and highlighted their work as part of recent tour to promote US manufacturing.

 

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Good approach
bobjengr   4/17/2012 7:41:13 PM
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Excellent point.  I think many universities are realizing that students want their courses to remain relavent, interesting and worthwhile.  The very best courses I  had during my university years were conducted by professors who had "been there and done that".  Hands on experience wrapped around good sound principals always holds a sudents interest.  "Book learning" is fine but it must be shown to be useful in solving problems.

 

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
Young Designers Flex Their Engineering Chops
bobjengr   4/17/2012 7:34:46 PM
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In times past, the degree of enthusiasm outweighed the degree of difficulty relative to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).   I certainly hope those days are returning and we see many more students entering areas involving technology and math.   I am somewhat pessimistic about the return of manufacturing to our country, at least to the extent we enjoyed in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  As we all know, manufacturing, at one time, was the engine that provided paydays for many many engineers and designers.   I will say this, several companies I do business with are bringing products and assemblies "home" due to less than acceptable quality and reliability.  They are also finding procurement and communication can be a real problem and have decided that higher costs are acceptable relative to the chaos and delays involved with doing business overseas.  The down side is we have lost one entire generation as far as experience.  Let's hope competition such as the one Beth has shown us will stimulate additional entry into STEM professions.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Good approach
Charles Murray   4/17/2012 7:21:23 PM
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I agree, Rob. I Like the helicoptor. The FIRST Robotics photo is also interesting -- probably the most complex design I've ever seen in a FIRST competition.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Buckeye Bullet
Charles Murray   4/17/2012 6:49:53 PM
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At one time (and maybe still) the Buckeye Bullet held the U.S. land speed record for an electric car, at over 300 mph, I believe.

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