Engineer Your Life (The Blog)

We love it here at EYL when butt kicking female engineers grab the spotlight, and the big prize. It is fair to say this week at MIT, that happened and more.
As the folks at MIT tell us (proudly, as it should be) Jennifer Lai, who is majoring in biological engineering and music and theater arts, and is headed to Oxford, has been named a Rhodes Scholar. Not too shabby Jennifer, not too shabby at all. 

Biological engineering AND music and theater arts? The girl is a concert pianist, a future world changer, and, we would like to think an example of what EYL is all about. 

Read more here

Congrats Jennifer!

When something is good, really good, people say you should “take that on the road.” Well, our favorite reality show/game show hybrid, Design Squad, is doing just that. After three seasons of fun, ingenious solutions to a range of problems and challenges, the folks at WGBH are mixing things up a bit, with two new (great) hosts, a new format, and a mission to literally change the world through design and engineering.


This season (premiering Jan 26th, check local listings!), the two new hosts, Judy Lee and Adam Vollmer, work alongside kids all over the world to do things like: design a red-carpet worthy gown with help from Project Runway winner Christian Siriano, improve the quality of life for kids living in rural Nicaragua by building them the playground of their dreams, to baking a creepy and crazy automated cake for the cast party of the musical Young Frankenstein.


Check out the trailer. It’s fun already. DS Nation, we'd follow you anywhere. 

This editorial, which the NY Times ran this week, is a bummer, to put it lightly. The statistics, facts and anecdotal proof rattled off here are hard to ignore. As in, more than half of this country’s science majors quit the discipline before they finish their studies because it is dull? What? Ugh, that is not good.

Take a read

We can do better than this. You can do better than this. Allow us to sound like a broken record girls. The future is in your hands. Demand better, more exciting, more open minded approaches at studying science and engineering. Seek out schools, employers, teachers and mentors that share our beliefs (and the reality) that engineering is cool, lucrative, fun, engaging and stimulating. That it is not one stereotypical thing but a wide ranging field with many possibilities and paths. That engineers are cool and that most of the cool “stuff” in our world is in fact the result of engineering’s power.

You know what? Thinking about this article more, and putting a positive spin on it we realize this: that these facts are indeed a big bummer, but that they also present one big, huge thing: POSSIBILITY.  Scholarships, cool jobs that are just waiting for smart girls like you to fill them. It’s all wide open.

To change this, to fill in the holes our country is facing, and to be secure the future of engineering WILL happen if we stick to it.

We can do better than this. We know it, because we have you as the future of engineering.  Take on the challenge. Dream big Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.
It's been a big week for our friends here at WGBH. On Monday, the president, yes THE president of the United States, hosted a science fair at the White House to promote and celebrate science and engineering in our nation's schools.

Cool, right? Well we were invited to the party. Our friends at Design Squad, WGBH's reality based show that pits two teams of budding engineering minded young people together in a series of design challenges, recently hosted a contest that asked kids to submit an idea on how to turn "Trash to Treasure." The winner? Check it out:

Student Develops "Smarter Toilet" That Conserves Water. A freshman at Rome Free Academy High School, MaryAnn Bulawa hails from Ava, New York and won the PBS Design Squad Trash to Treasure competition for her invention. She used bubble wrap, plexiglass, and PVC piping to develop the Smart Toilet, which displaces water inside the tank to reduce the toilet's water and energy consumption. The PBS television series Design Squad challenged kids aged 5-19 to reuse recycled materials by engineering the green invention for their Trash to Treasure competition. The competition aligns with Design Squad's mission to engage kids in engineering and illustrate how it can make a difference.

Great idea, right? The president thought so:  the idea got these budding engineers the big invite to the big white house in Washington DC. It was a great day for WGBH, the USA and science and engineering buffs all over.

Take a read at some of the other winners and their equally great ideas. Round of applause all around.

Dream big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.

Now THIS is cool. Astronauts and spacesuits and rockets oh my. Well, sort of. It’s NASA, and NASA has always been, and will always be cool in that spacecamp sort of way. Well, we came across something that NASA is offering to engineering minded ladies (and gentlemen) like you, and we wanted to share it.


The program, called the RealWorld-InWorld NASA Engineering Design Challenge, is aimed at high school students interested in STEM related careers; i.e.—YOU. Here’s more from the site:


This is a unique education initiative that targets students in grades 9-12 and encourages them to explore and build skills essential for successful careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through two phases of project-based learning and team competition.


Best of all? It is free to be a part of. Talk with your teachers and rally a team together to compete with teams from all over the country. The competition should be fierce so put your best engineering head into it and move on to the finals to compete for engineering glory!


More here:


Let us know how you do. We’ll gladly blog about your progress along the way if you like!


Keep us posted ladies…


There’s been a lot of chit-chat this week about the term STEM, which us girls know to mean “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” Some (like the NY Times writer Natalie Anger in this article say the term is “odious” and put much blame on the term itself for the underdog persona these disciplines sometimes (sadly) get branded with.  
Ok. We hear you. STEM is not the flashiest term in the world. It doesn’t roll off the tongue like Bieber fever, tweet or Twihard. And branding is everything, right? But, let’s not go bashing the engine, er term, that has made strides (yes arguably small and debatably sluggish but strides nonetheless) over the last few years. The government is paying attention (read a recent report here ). Our schools are paying attention. Potential employers are paying attention, and, most importantly, young people are hearing more about the possibilities and potential in these fields.
It is progress. It is movement in the right direction. And there’s lots of good that can “stem” from that.
What do you think? Is the term STEM really to blame?

In our mission to share with you as many cool, interesting things about the field of engineering, it occurred to us that we may not have told you enough about our web site. Trust us, it’s pretty great. There is a ton of info on there to help you navigate the ins and outs of engineering education and engineering as a career. 


So what is so great about it? We’re glad you asked…you can:

Explore the different types of engineering, from aerospace to environmental.

Meet inspiring women
who work in engineering. You know, just being creative. Just saving the world. Just another day at work ;)

Make it happen! Find out valuable information on how to take steps towards a bright future.

Oh, there’s stuff on there for counselors and parents too. Information about how they can help you get to where you want to be. Share it with them. We’re betting they’ll be glad you did.

Hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think. We are always up for hearing suggestions on how to make it all better, cooler and more useful to you.

Dream big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.


All of us at EYL love meeting new friends that share our passion for equality and opportunity for girls. We bet you do too. So, we wanted to introduce you to the Dot Divas. These girls, like the EYL crew, see the excitement, creativity and opportunity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related career paths.

Specifically, the Dot Divas, “believe in the potential of computing to create a better world.” These gals have their finger on the pulse, literally. They realize the potential of a keystroke or a sharply written code to entertain people, solve environmental issues, and even save lives. They know that Dot Divas are cool, trendy, hip and in demand.  We have to agree on that one!

This Monday, September 27th, the Dot Divas will have their  formal debut, officially introducing themselves to the world at an all day event in Boston. In the morning alone guests will see the premiere of “Kate and Ali”—Dot Diva’s fun new webinar series. After that guests can attend a fashion show and robotics exhibit, and later can meet the ladies behind Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

Here’s more on the event.
Sounds fun, right? Here’s the good news. After the event, much of the content and events of the day will be available via the Dot Diva web site. We’ll be sure and share it with you here, on Facebook, etc.  

Until then, check out the Dot Diva web site for tons of cool information and resources.  

To our Dot Diva pals—best of luck Monday! We’re guessing it will be fabulous. 

In an earlier post, we talked about engineering and its place in Hollywood. Sound engineers, animation artists, etc.---mainly those rock stars who work behind the scenes to make the magic happen. Well, our friends at the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) are working on an initiative to celebrate Hollywood’s positive on screen portrayals of engineering and STEM related careers. By doing this, the EIC challenges these unfortunate (and rampant) negative Hollywood portrayals.


Check out this quote in a recent BusinessWeek article from Richard Stephens, senior vice president of human resources at Boeing, a company working with the EIC on this initiative.


There's no shortage of scientists and engineers on TV and the movies, says Richard Stephens, senior vice-president of human resources and administration at Boeing. Many, however, are portrayed in an unsympathetic light. "In movies and on TV, 10 percent of characters are scientists and engineers," Stephens said in Congressional testimony on Feb. 4. "Unfortunately, of those more than 70 percent kill others, are killed, or are overcome by lay people.”


Unacceptable. That just has to change. Let’s support EIC and do what we can to turn turn the tide. As part of their initiative, EIC has launched The S.E.T. Awards to shine a light on the entertainment industry's most effective, accurate and entertaining portrayals of engineering and STEM related careers. 


Check out the award application. The deadline for submissions has been extended to September 30th.


Know any great shows that portray engineering and STEM related careers in a positive light? Nominate them and give them their long overdue moment in the spotlight!

Dream big. Hollywood, name in lights movie star big.


Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.


PS Feeling warm and fuzzy about the field of engineering? Wish you could do something to help spread the word that engineering rocks? Then take the Engineer’s Pledge, our new initiative to help support the field of engineering by banishing stereotypes and polishing its image. Go to our Pledge Facebook page and “like it.”  

The Pledge page:


Thanks much.





Today we have another birthday that all of us at EYL are happy to celebrate. Women’s right to vote and run for office, aka suffrage, became law 90 years ago today. The thought that only a couple of generations ago, women were denied the right to cast an official opinion on the way their city, state, and country were governed; not to mention their environments, the livelihood and education of their children, etc... it’s just mind-boggling.


It’s not something we think about often these days. Ninety years (although a short time in the grand scheme of American History) is long enough to dull the memories of a time when people actually believed that women’s brains and judgment skills were inferior to men.


Here’s the sad, sobering truth. There is a small population of (fools) who sort of still believe this type of thing. It’s the reason women still make less than men to do the same work. The reason sexual harassment still rears its ugly head in the workplace. The reason the percentages of women who hold political office (or sit in the corner office) are still low.


What can we do about it EYL team? First and foremost, let’s be mindful.

Let’s remember today's anniversary and be mindful that rules are meant to change and stereotypes are just noise. That women make fantastic engineers and scientists. That the lab and the field and the history books have plenty of room for the ladies.


If you’re feeling frustrated or lazy, think back to 90 years ago today, when women just like us stood up and said no more. When we were (finally) handed the pen and the power. Let's keep using it girls. 

Thanks to our friends at Vision 2020 for reminding us about this important milestone!


Dream big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.

Have you taken the Engineer's Pledge? Why not? Help us strengthen the future of engineering and help more girls become interested in the field. Go to our Facebook page and "like it to take the pledge!