HOW DO I GET THERE FROM HERE?
So you’re hooked on engineering. But how do you actually get to be an engineer. Well, there’s that college degree you’ll need. But that’s a long way off. There are plenty of things you can do right now to get a jump on it.
Probably the most important four letters you need to know: STEM, short for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s a nation-wide program to encourage young people to prepare for technical careers, and teaches all those subjects in an integrated way, with a lot of hands-on projects. Run, don’t walk, to any STEM courses your school offers.
Remember, the main building blocks for an engineering career are math and science. So max out those courses. Add some chemistry and computer courses. Don’t forget English—you’ll need to write well. And foreign language courses—you never know where you’ll end up in an engineering career.
There’s a lot of engineering outside school, too. Science museums, for example, and mentoring programs, and competitions. You’ll be coached by the best teachers you could have: professional engineers.
First LEGO LeagueCoaches help you research a real-world problem like food safety or recycling, and develop a program to solve it. And you get to be on a team that designs, constructs, programs and tests a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot. Fun or what?! www.firstlegoleague.org
Be a MathleteMove over athletes, here come the mathletes! Be one of the more than 500,000 middle schoolers who compete in MATHCOUNTS, a math competition at the school, local, state, and yes, national level. If the idea of setting a world’s record for the fastest ever time (6 minutes, 16.57 seconds) to set up a human formation for the first 25 rows of Pascal’s triangle appeals to you, check out MATHCOUNTS, because that’s actually what happened at a national competition! www.mathcounts.org
Design a CityEver think to yourself: “If this were my city,
I’d change a lot of things”? Here’s your chance: Future City Competition, a program of DiscoverE. Middle schoolers design their own city first on the computer, then in a 3-D,
large-scale model. And it’s a competition, played to the finish in Washington DC. www.futurecity.org