A Future City (photo courtesy of Sy at Stylekemistry)
I always enjoy seeing the creativity and innovative ideas these competitors come up with. Hearing their solutions to serious, real life problems (like waste management and pollution) pure inspiration that the next generation's "got this." Talking to these students brings nothing but smiles to my face and optimistic me that has been beaten down by my own C.O.E syndrome (Cranky, Old Engineer) is back.
I'm so glad I had the opportunity this weekend to talk to the students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and what I do as an engineer (aka STEM education/outreach) because STEM outreach is the number one thing I love about my career as an engineer. Being a mentor to the next generation is fun and re-energizing for me (and hopefully the kids I talk to find it fun and interesting too). It reminds me just how cool my job can be; it's easy forget the difference I make as engineer when I'm stuck in the day to day grind and mundane tasks (oh Excel spreadsheets, how boring you can be). So if you're feeling a little down about your job or feeling stuck in a rut, I highly recommend discussing with children what you do and becoming a mentor (even if it is only for one day at a competition).
Good luck to the Arizona winners of the Future Cities Competition! I hope you take it all at the national competition in D.C. this February!
To learn more about Future Cities, click on the link: http://futurecity.org/