One tricky thing about becoming an engineer is getting it off of that pedestal it’s often put on. A lot of people elevate it so much it seems like it’s impossible to get do.
But think about this: engineering is a verb. You can’t english a story, or science a test. You probably can’t math an equation (though it sounds cute to say it). But you can engineer a solution. That’s because engineering is about doing. So get it off its pedestal and do engineering.
Engineering experience can come from anywhere, too. Sometimes not from what you’d expect. Where one person might participate in a robotics team all through high school, and that’s their passion, another might not be so passionate about robots.
Meet Adarsh Patra. He’s a junior at Westview High School who’s already working to be as legit as possible. He’s involved in Model UN, the National Honors Society, and is the VP of his school’s Pre-Medical Association. To boot, he’s taking a full load of AP classes and is on the varsity tennis team. What a mouthful!
Over the summer, he worked with the National Weather Service (NWS), through Saturday Academy’s ASE program. In it, he did a lot of field work as a hydrologist, collecting data to help predict water table movements, which helps the NWS give out flood warnings to keep the people safe. He also worked with a program called Kineros, the results of which you can see as a map of river forecasts.
Some people are all about being ‘legit.’ It’s a slang word that gets thrown around a lot (shortened from ‘legitimate’) that basically means “real.” And that doesn’t mean that people who do things like robotics competitions aren’t getting real experience. But it does mean that robotics competitions are organized and in a controlled environment. Which in a lot of ways is pretty cool.
But for some people, controlled environments aren’t for them. These people become the kinds of engineers who are interested in world politics, using engineering to help the needy, keep everyone safe, and bring peace. For these people, that’s their passion.
ASE agrees: if you want to be an engineer, get your hands dirty by getting out there.