Engineers of Tomorrow helps students understand the power of engineering to unlock and shape positive societal change.
How old were you when you first heard the word “engineer”? Do you know an engineer in person?
Two engineering grads (Becky and Erica) got together to contemplate this question in early 2016, and later on started a non-profit organization to help tell better stories about engineering to Canada’s young people.
Engineers of Tomorrow (EoT) takes a system approach to raise awareness about engineering for all students — regardless of gender, ethnicity, orientation, religion, ability, or thinking style — instead of relying on stereotypes.
The secret is mobilizing a network of passionate engineers. Engineer in Residence (EIR) is a unique and collaborative outreach framework that tackles common barriers and misconceptions faced by students (like “you have to be a genius to be an engineer”).
The latest research has identified three best practices for effective K-12 engineering programming — mentorship, community-based STEM education, and early engagement — which are at the core of the EIR. Local engineers partner with K-12 educators to co-create tailored STEM experiences throughout the academic year.
Sparking students’ interest in STEM
Teacher testimonials about the program’s impact are profound. Students eagerly anticipate EIR visits, sparking their interest in science and engineering, even among once-reluctant learners. The program enriches the science curriculum, nurtures critical thinking and collaboration, and connects classroom learning to real-life applications.
A case study featuring Alison, an Ottawa Catholic School Board teacher, showcased how the program positively impacted reluctant learners, improving their engagement and teamwork skills.
The program also bridges socioeconomic disparities. Students from low-income households gain exposure to robotics, coding, and engineering challenges, realizing their potential irrespective of resources.
The EIR program benefits educators, too. Jennifer Elkin, an Algoma District School Board teacher, experienced a revitalized teaching approach through collaboration with an engineer.
EIR is a powerful tool for promoting diversity in STEM. It breaks down barriers, kindles a passion for engineering, and enriches the educational experience. By fostering collaboration and providing real-world insights, the program contributes to a more inclusive and innovative STEM landscape.
To get involved and learn more, visit engineersoftomorrow.ca.