What's the Gift that Led You to Give Back?
Gift us the story of your love for engineering & technology!
Maybe you found it dull and boring at first? Did your mind go numb as you listened to concepts too complicated to understand and numbers too overwhelming to compute? Did your love blossom slowly over time, as you discovered layer upon layer of depth, becoming arrested by incomprehensible beauty, as you longingly gazed into the abyss of a perfect alignment of mathematical symmetry and artistic harmony?
Did it begin with an exchange of gifts? Engineering and technology, as you know, offers many tantalizing gifts. Did you have a moment together? A moment that would change the rest of your life forever!
The end of the year is a time for giving and reflection. Gifts are exchanged, resolutions are made, and you look back on the past. You may even reach further and think of the pivotal moments that led you in the current direction of your life.
Whether its the gift of an experience, the gift of a piece of hardware or software, the gift of an idea or a person who inspired you, think of a gift that influenced you to pursue engineering & technology.
Here are some examples of the gifts that led others to give back:
The Gift of Wonder
Steve Wozniak, widely credited as the inventor of the Personal Computer, gave an interview where he credits a journal he found in a hall closet for his interest in engineering and technology: "...I found a journal in a hall closet with descriptions of binary numbering, logic gates and storage devices....When I discovered a 9-year old could understand this stuff I knew it would be my passion forever."
An engineer may not get or even want attention for their accomplishments, its their job, to make things work even if it means pushing technology as far as it goes, making the seemingly impossible, possible. A good deal of selflessness is required in engineering, which in its way makes it sound a lot like giving. For an engineer like Wozniak, it opened up a world of wonder for him that would change the world forever!
|"I found a journal in a hall closet with descriptions of binary numbering, logic gates and storage devices....When I discovered a 9-year old could understand this stuff I knew it would be my passion forever."|
The Gift of the Whole Brain
Many of the skills required to be a good engineer are well known and have been talked about a lot. A lot of formal training in math and science is required to develop the rational thinking and logic required to solve real world problems. Not only are you expected to solve complex problems, you are asked to implement solutions in cost effective and practical ways.This brings us to another prized trait in engineers; the ability to think creatively. The ability to think big and use your imagination is highly valued, especially when it comes to solving complicated problems that may involve monetary or feasibility concerns. Anyone that has ever worked in tech knows you have to work within the constraints of the technology of the given time and even a perfect product will be obsolete before you know it.
Although mostly known as one of the great artist, there's perhaps no better exemplier what can be accomplished in engineering using a whole-brain approach than Leonardo Di Vinci: "To develop a complete mind: study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." In addition to being an accomplished architectural engineer, Da Vinci's investigation of human anatomy helped lay the early foundation of the biomedical engineering field.
|"To develop a complete mind: study the science of art; study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else."|
The Gift of Diversity
In a world ruled by seemingly arbitrary lines. Engineering and technology follow the laws of physics and if you can master those laws and bend technology to your will, you find it's the product of your work that matters and this gives opportunity to people from diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses. The appeal of technology and engineering for people in all corners of the world is that regardless of your gender, race, family, background, or social status, your contribution has value because of where you come from. That is why some of the great technology companies and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educators are at the forefront of recognizing the need to promote a diverse and inclusive environment.
Engineers and technologists recognize the value diversity brings to the work they are able to accomplish, if you are going to invent and innovate solutions that solve the needs of everyone you're only going to succeed by bringing in diverse perspectives. Education in engineering is now focused on being more diverse because, as explained in an article about the changing face of engineering education, that drives innovation.
The Gift of Curiosity
Once you understand the mathematical and mechanistic way everything works you open doors, that lead you to other doors, that lead to still more doors. Engineers use quantitative analysis to understand and model the world around them. They witness the interplay between science and technology, how science advances technology, and vice versa. In a profile on Live Science, Maurizio Porfiri, who holds a PH.D. in engineering mechanics credits the literature he read growing up for the curiosity needed to excel in engineering: "Being creative and being curious is more important than being the smartest or best at equations if you want to be a great engineer or researcher."
Porfiri was included in Popular Science's Brilliant 10 in 2012, an elite group of scientists under 40 who stands to dramatically impact their field, despite being a self-described "okay student" as well as the recipient of the 2008 NSF Career Award. In engineering and technology, curiosity is what drives you to learn new programming languages, experiment with new systems, and come up with novel solutions to solve problems.
|"Being creative and being curious is more important than being the smartest or best at equations if you want to be a great engineer or researcher."|
The Gift of a Better Tomorrow
There are many pressing needs in the world in fields like technology including energy, sustainability, transportation, education, healthcare, food, and the environment. While a goal of many disciplines in science is to understand reality, the ultimate goal of engineering and technology is to create a better tomorrow that leaves the world a better a place.
The work of engineers is everywhere. In hospitals and clinics there is manufacturing pharmaceuticals, designing intravenous infusion pumps, programming electronic medical records. Biomedical engineers are as much a part of patient care as nurses and physicians. Meanwhile, mechanical engineers contribute to transportation; environmental engineers contribute to sustainability and energy; and electrical engineers contribute to communications.
The Gift of Generosity
Perhaps the greatest gift of engineering and technology is that it can not only make life more comfortable for everyone, but it can also save lives. An understanding of engineering and technology can be used to serve the public and address global challenges by putting you in a position to help others using your skills. Environmental Engineer Lilia Abron, founder of Peer Consultants and Peer Africa, credits the book Silent Sprint by Rachel Carson, as the inspiration behind her sanitary engineering vocation.
Lilia Abron runs a program that unifies energy efficiency and sustainable housing construction, along with economic development, to create sustainable human settlements. She tells her alumni bulletin: "It bothered me to see people living without any power to change their lives, and government funds being wasted by construction companies just trying to make money. I told my business partner, 'I know how to solve this.'" The book Silent Spring, first published in 1962, is also the inspiration for the environmental movement that led to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency).
|"It bothered me to see people living without any power to change their lives, and government funds being wasted by construction companies just trying to make money. I told my business partner, 'I know how to solve this.'"|
The Gift that Kept On Giving
There's perhaps no better way to succeed in life than to love what you do because then you'll never you'll never "work" a day in your life. Educators are finding that key to developing children's interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) may lie in making STEM applicable to everyday life, making it more interesting and hands on, and emphasizing the process over results. If you developed a love for Science, Technology, and Math you could probably point to examples in your life that fall into one of those categories. It could be a HEATH kit you received when you were a child, your first computer, working with your Dad in the garage, a science fair, or any number of experiences that you can point to as having influenced your love for engineering or technology.
You've heard from others. Now, tell us what sparked YOUR interest in Engineering or Technology! Was it a gift you received? What was the gift? Do you remember how old you were when the moment happened! Do you remember where you were when it happened? Tell us what it means to you now. Everyone has to start from somewhere, with that "eureka" moment. Were you working one day and suddenly realized, engineering and technology is where you want to spend the rest of your life. Engineering and technology are definitely a worthwhile life-long companions. Others have always known they wanted to be with engineering and technology. What's your story?
Love at First Bite? Tell Us How Your Love Affair with Engineering or Technology Began!
Love is a gift (I'm reliably informed by every rom com movie ever made). So we want to lavish technology gifts upon you, due to your love of technology (recipients of the freebies will be selected on the quality of their storytelling chops)!
Not only that, but we'll give you something to pass along to a techno-noobie to spread your love of electronics and inspire the next generation of engineers, like ripples in a solder bath.
Here's how to join in:
- Register for free here at element14.com, or log in if you're already registered.
- Tell the story of what got you hooked on electronics and tech in the comments below, leaving no lyric unwaxed!
- Make sure your postal address and phone number are filled out in your element14 profile (if it's not, we can't send you anything even if we wanted to!). Click your name at the very top of the screen to open the drop-down menu, followed by "Edit Profile + Privacy", and fill in the details so you're eligible for freebies.
- PRIVACY NOTE: Click your name at the very top of the scree to open the drop-down menu, followed by "Edit Profile + Privacy", go to the "Privacy" tab, and change the relevant options to "Yourself" so that your postal address and phone number aren't publicly visible.
- This promotion only runs until 20th January, 2017, or until we run out of hot tech swag, so tell us your stories now!