Sponsored by PPI. An interview with Leslie Collins, Executive Director of DiscoverE.
Q. What is DiscoverE?
A. DiscoverE is a leader in engineer volunteer outreach to celebrate the profession and shape the next generation of innovators. We mobilize, connect, support, and recognize volunteers who, in turn, reach deep into their communities to affect education and the workforce.
Q. What inspired the launch of Engineers Week?
A. The first Engineers Week was in 1951 and the goal then - and now – is to bring to public attention engineers’ contributions.
Q. What do you hope DiscoverE will accomplish in the next 5 years?
A. With volunteers at our core, we plan to increase the number engaged in DiscoverE programs. That will help expand our reach to young students, parents, and educators. We also want to help drive robust public conversations around education and workforce development issues.
Q. What is your favorite part of Engineers Week?
A. There are two events in Washington, DC, I never miss and this year PPI is helping to sponsor both. One is the Future City Finals. Teams of middle school students from the U.S., Canada, China, and Middle East have designed and built models of futuristic cities. They have amazing ideas. You can watch the Finals livestream on Tuesday, February 20 8:30am-12:30pm EST/USA at FutureCity.org.
The second event is Discover Engineering Family Day at the National Building Museum on Saturday, February 17. Volunteers conduct hands-on activities for about 6,000 people. When someone says kids aren’t interested in engineering, I always point to these events.
Q. What advice would you give young people pursuing a career in engineering?
A. Realize that your career will make a difference in many lives and that is inspiring. If you are in college, make a difference by volunteering through organizations like Bridges to Prosperity. College students and professionals can help inspire the next generation by participating in DiscoverE programs.
Q. How can people get involved with Engineers Week in their communities?
A. If you are an engineer or engineering student it’s likely your employer, college, or engineering society will be involved. You can also check out DiscoverE.org for resources such as ‘how-to’ webinars, activities to do with kids, and much more.
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