Engineering Is Hip Again


Not too long ago everyone wanted to get an MBA and go work on Wall Street; we all know how that turned out. Now, it appears that making real things, not financial constructions, is cool again. Enrollment is up 4.5%. And they are not joining to learn how to build highways; According to the Christian Science Monitor,

Some education officials detect a shift in opinion about the profession itself, as global warming and stem-cell research make fields like chemical and bioengineering more than just wise choices for job-seekers – but fashionable ones, too.

Many students are bringing to engineering a heightened sense of social responsibility and a desire "to go out and make a difference in the world," says Joseph Helble, dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.


Back when I was in architecture school, which split off from engineering many years earlier, it was not a woman-friendly institution. It apparently still isn't:

Old problems hamper engineering schools, too: Attrition remains high and schools still struggle to attract larger numbers of blacks, Hispanics, and women.

"Programs that have been able to link with biomedical and environmental engineering, which are growing fields within engineering, they've been more attractive to women," says Daryl Chubin, head of the Center for Advancing Science and Engineering Capacity at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "In general, however, people interested in the environment and energy are going to think about scientific disciplines, not engineering."

I hope not. We have a lot of buildings to build and rebuild, transport systems to re-engineer and infrastructure to redesign, We need engineers who understand how to do it with less stuff and with greater efficiency.

via Paul Kedrosky, who calls it "the most reassuring news I have seen in some time, much more so than any nonsense about the banking sector."

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