FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – In today’s high-tech world, there’s no shortage of amazing gadgets out there, but there is a shortage of engineers in this country to make them possible. That’s one of the reasons the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is hosting Engineering Week this week, in hopes of attracting the next generation of engineers.
IBM engineer John Hackemack says it’s a good idea. “We work with the museums, like the Fort Worth Museum and Dallas Museum of Science and History, working in the schools, to try to motivate kids into thinking about becoming engineers, and we do that mainly by showing them that science can be fun!”
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 flight simulator is another big hit with the kids. They get to take off, land, do aerial tricks, even fire weapons in one of the most technologically-advanced military aircraft in the world.
“There’s all kinds of engineering that not only goes into the design of the aircraft to make it fly, and the flight controls to make is fly correctly,” says Lockheed Martin engineer Levi Cowsert. “There’s also all the avionics in there, the computer systems that do all the cool stuff on the screens.”
The goal of Engineering Week is to make kids think about how everything works, and attract new minds to the field of engineering. The alternative is not something IBM’s Hackemack wants to consider. “It’s something we’ve always prided ourselves on as a nation, being innovators and being leading in technology, but if you don’t have engineers, you’re not going to be able to develop new technologies.”
Kids on the robotics team at TCU’s Starpoint School already know a lot about engineering. They designed their own robotic cars in a competition called First Lego League, and it’s got many of them thinking about their future careers.
“I like the idea of building new things to either help or better the economy, or all the things that need to be done in the world,” says Starpoint student Bryce Ellington. “I just think it’s really cool.”
And with the hands-on lessons they’re getting at Engineering Week, they may not need much more convincing to stay on this path.