Engineer Your Life (The Blog)

EYL troops; today, we must admit. We’re tired.

We’re tired of the notion that girls have to be one or the other. That we have to be a beauty OR an intellectual. That we have to be an athlete OR a ballerina. That we couldn't possibly know how to expertly apply both lipstick and a scientific theory. That we can’t hold a baby in the morning and a board meeting in the afternoon. 

Puh-leeze. After a while this all starts to sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

Waah, Waah waah waah……

This is 2010. Two-thousand-and-ten. Well into the 21st century. Yeah. And sadly enough, these foolish, outdated, stifling notions still seem to creep into society and the minds of both young (and old) girls and boys.

It’s crazy talk. Ignore it.

If you're ever feeling tired of the babble, think about the following:

  • For almost 200 years the Supreme Court did not have one female on its bench. By the end of this week, they’ll most likely be three. (NY Times)
  • The author Jhumpa Lahiri (who looks like a movie star) received a Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, a Guggenheim fellowship and a James Beard award for her book Interpreter of Maladies. It was her first book.
  • Long distance runner Pamela Reed once ran 300 miles without sleep. Her male counterpart, Dean Karnazes, has twice attempted to run 300 miles without sleep — and failed. Pamela has five kids.

  • Marissa Meyer, Google’s first female engineer, helps run one of the most powerful countries in the world. She has been compared to Grace Kelly for her elegance. She has been featured in Vogue and Glamour. She is 35 years old.

  • Maya Angelou was the first poet to speak at an inauguration since Robert Frost spoke at JFK’s. She isn’t really interested in people telling her she has to be one thing or the other. When asked who her first male love interest was, she has been known to answer “Mr. William Shakespeare.”

Ok, we’re awake now. We hope you are too. And trust us, there are many, many, many more examples of women who perk us up better than a jolt of caffeine.

So, remember. You are not cardboard cutouts or cartoon characters. You are not a stereotype or somebody else’s notion of who you should be. Remember that endless, boundless possibilities await you girls next year, the next ten years, and for the rest of your life.

You know we are going to say next. Dream Big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life.




Hi blog readers and future engineers,

We know you’re right there along with us in our mission to change the way people think, and talk, about engineering. Well, it’s time to take our relationship to the next level.

Let’s make it official. 

Last week we introduced the Engineer’s Pledge. Engineer’s Pledge, meet our blog readers. Blog readers, meet the Engineer’s Pledge.

The pledge is a promise. It is a pinky swear to the field of engineering. It is a decision to put our money where our mouth is. Engineers, professors, students, supporters—let’s do this. Here it is:

The Engineer’s Pledge

Change the way you talk about engineering. Take the Engineer’s Pledge.

 I will:

·                     Tell people about the creative aspects engineering 

·                     Promote the collaborative nature of engineering

·                     Talk about how engineering makes a difference

In less than a week, over 400 people have taken the pledge. We think that is a great sign and an encouraging trend. Let's keep it going. The old saying that there is strength in numbers is, well, true.

So, go to our Facebook page (please) and “like” it. That’s it. You’ve pledged. You feel better already, huh?
We had a lot of response and feedback yesterday when we posted a great little quote about engineering. The quote, widely re-used and distributed in the engineering world, goes a little something like this:

"Some say the glass is half full. Others say it is half empty. Engineers say the glass is too big."

Cute, right? We were talking a little more about the quote at Engineer Your Life this week and realized the quote is more than cute. It does well to sum up a lot of the characteristics of engineering that often go unseen. While some think (wrongly) that engineering is a lot about quiet folks being hunched over desks crunching numbers or working alone on computers, it is more about looking at things from a different perspective.

It's about realizing that often the answer isn't as obvious or limiting as one might think. Seeking new possibilities for old problems. Having a healthy skepticism about what might seem obvious or accepted. Carving new paths. Building something out of nothing. Fixing things. Solving problems. Making a difference. Building the future, literally. 

Next time you hear or read something about engineering that is more along the lines of just "half full or half empty", urge them to think again. To think differently. To not assume it's the lack of water, but that it is just too much darn glass.

Before you go, check out this hilarious, ingenious story of an engineering student and the very creative answer he had to an actual exam question. 

Dream big. Love what you do. Engineer Your Life. 
A couple of weeks ago Engineer Your Life was introduced to a silly, fun, interesting and inspiring new web community, Smart Girls at the Party. After attending this "party" for a while, we had to tell you more. This is one party you want to be at.

The site celebrates girls and the power of intelligence, working hard to be the antithesis of the countless "tween" and teen web sites aimed at girls that focus only on celebrities, pop culture, gossip and appearance. Boring, boring, boring.

We've heard enough about Lindsay Lohan and Twilight (sorry girls, haven't we? really?) for a lifetime. Let's direct our energy towards something more interesting--us! This community manages to be nerdy in the coolest of ways. Smart but never dorky. Inspiring but not sappy. 

Comedian Amy Poehler and her friends Meredith Walker and Amy Miles, started the site to convince girls once and for all that being smart is cool. The site is filled with videos, chats, how-tos and the opportunity to meet and friend smart, cool, fun girls just like you. 

Check out one of our favorite videos, an engineer named Rachel. She is 12 years old and makes robots with her bare hands. Coooool.

As Smart Girls at the Party reminds us "smart girls have more fun" and you can "change the world by being yourself."

Duh, we knew that!

But thanks for the reminder ;)
One of our favorite advocates of science, technology, engineering and math, The Girl Scouts, just got a makeover. The world's largest organization for girls, got a new "do" and a forward facing look at the 21st century, literally, check it out  at:

As for the look in action, explore their STEM programs here:

The logos, which have stood strong since the late seventies, were updated to more closely mirror the modern gal. It's an update and a look that all of us at Engineer Your Life are excited about. To us it feels strong, confident and ready to take on the world. It represents a well rounded girl that does a lot more than just selling cookies.

And that makes US happy campers ;)

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Break out the balloons and candles. Washington DC’s brilliant baby, the legislation we know as Title IX, turned 38 this week. The law, which was written to “prohibit sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities,” was set into action after decades of inequality and frustration surrounding the inequality in education programs and activities supported by federal money.


The legislation, which is often associated only with athletics, also supports equality in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs. Since the legislation passed 38 years ago, our friends at AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women) tell us that participation by girls in sports has increased 900 percent. Wow.


The percentages in STEM related education programs and careers aren’t as impressive. AAUW’s report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics" tells us that only 25% these fields are filled by women. All of us at Engineer Your Life think we can change that. So, EYL troops, urge Congress to enforce the law, ask where the STEM programs are in school, and think about careers where you can rock your STEM educations.  

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

Sunday is Father’s Day. A day we celebrate dear old dad. At EngineerYourLife, we’re celebrating all the dads out there that raised (and are raising) strong, smart and confident daughters.

The dads that teach their daughters when they hear “no” or “you can’t” to try again. The dads that march right up to the coach and ask why his girl can’t be on the team---and cheer the loudest when she hits her first homerun. The dad that brings home the college pamphlets, not for you, for him---so he can read up on how to help you prepare. The dad who works extra hours (and extra jobs) so he can help pay for said college. The dad who sits through the spelling bee, the math Olympics, the cello concert, the school production of The Princess and the Pea, and the presentation of your erupting volcano at the science fair. All in one month.

Here at Engineer Your Life, we’ve got a crew of dads who have been handing us jewels of wisdom for years. 

Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order. 

  • 99% of success in life is showing up
  • Get a library card
  • Don’t be an island. Life (and engineering!) works best when shared with others
  • Anything he can do, you can do too
  • Think like a turtle---slow and steady really does win the race
  • If your date is rude to the waiter, dump him
  • Pull your shoulders back
  • Bring cab fare
  • Sit in the front of the class
  • Say please and thank you
  • Being pretty makes you pretty: being smart makes you invincible

Thanks dad. We’ll remember that.


Dream big. Love What you do. (hmm, sounds like something our dads would say!)--Engineer Your Life. 



Okay, okay. Engineering has a bad rep. It has, as they say in Hollywood, an “image problem.” We know the outdated and inaccurate stereotypes that won’t seem to go away—the pocket protector and the thick glasses. The lonely cube dweller. None of it is true.

Engineer is a verb. Remember that. It’s innovation in action. It holds the power to solve problems, expand your mind and encourage collaboration and cooperation unmatched by many professions. It’s pretty tough to design a bridge for disabled kids or solve a water distribution problem in a rural village in Africa alone at a desk, right? 

This week, the New York Times ran a front page story about programs that introduce kindergarteners to engineering. In these programs, amongst other activities, kids go through the engineering process of “design, build, test, evaluate” to structure a house for the Three Little Pigs that the wolf can’t blow down.

These kids are getting an early taste of the action involved with engineering. To engineer. To create. They are getting a taste of a profession that is fun and rewarding. We like that.

Here’s hoping we see more stories like this about programs like this. Together, we can huff and puff and blow those old stereotypes down.

Want to know more about the action of engineering? Come see us at EngineerYourLife


Think engineers are all about pocket protectors, bland cubicles and nerdy personalities? Think again. Think Hollywood. Movies and tv shows. Massive glittery productions filled with superstars and shining lights. Did you know----crucial to the success of these movies and tv shows is a little thing called sound, or audio, engineering? 

Audio engineering has not always been recognized as an official division of engineering. But, with the explosion of technology and its place in Hollywood, this field is quickly becoming one of engineering’s hottest and most sought after jobs.

Take Hollywood darling Pixar, the studio behind Wall-E, Cars, The Incredibles, Up, the Toy Story franchise and more.  Their dazzling animation skills and ability to create riotously funny and endearing movies is reliant upon audio engineering. Buzz Lightyear could not take us to “Infinity and Beyond!” and Lightning McQueen couldn’t rev his engine and win the big race if it weren’t for sound.

An experiment--try watching one of these movies on mute. You’ll see they are hollow shells without the vocal and sound effects that carry them through. 
See Ms Future engineer?--Hollywood needs you.

Interested in seeing what types of jobs, internships and programs places like Pixar might have for you? There are many cool opportunities out there just waiting for you, so check it out. 

Oh, and by the way, you can win an Oscar for audio engineering. 

Think about it. Come visit us in our other home for more info. 

And start writing your acceptance speech ;)


Close your eyes. Fast forward a few years. Take a deep breath. Feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and….the itchy cap and gown you are wearing? Yep, it’s your graduation from college, a day they call “commencement” once you are in the big leagues.
This is a day you’ll look forward to for four years and a ceremony you’ll never forget. Celebrations will ensue. Parents will be proud. Speakers will  ramble but you’ll only hear about half of what they are saying because you are thinking about your life. What’s next. The future

Graduating college is exciting, emotional and stressful. Your entire life is ahead of you. One journey is ending and another is beginning. There will be pressure to find a job. Unfortunately, these days, this is not a simple task. Statistics and scary newspaper articles tell us that college graduates are facing the worst job market in decades and things are slow to improve. 
More than ever, we have to be smart about which major we choose. A major that is interesting, a major that is fulfilling. A major that gets us a job.
I think you know what we are about to say. Engineering gets the job done, in more ways than one. Take a look at an excerpt from an article from the NY Times that ran last year. 

In general, engineering schools produced the best starting salaries, and represented eight out of the top 10 schools in starting salary. On the other hand, Ivy League Schools are the best bet for mid-career pay, with five out of the top 10.
Majors matter. Quantitative-oriented degrees -- like engineering, science, mathematics and economics -- filled most of the top 20 slots in both highest starting median salaries and highest mid-career median salaries.
(NY Times, 2009)

This is nothing new. Engineering has consistently been one of the best majors for students to pick in terms of getting, and keeping, jobs. And, the starting salaries are considerably higher than the average for a recent college graduate. Of course, there’s the exciting travel, the ability to truly make a difference, the range of industries—from fashion to cooking to entertainment to design—that engineers work in. 

Now open your eyes. Think about it. We’re just saying….
Check this out from our site if you want to know more.

Need more evidence? 

Check this out from this week's W