IEEE Societies and Councils Support the Next Generation of Engineers

Thanks to scholarships from these groups, students are able to learn about careers in STEM

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THE INSTITUTEThe IEEE TryEngineering Summer Institute tagline—“Give us two weeks, and we'll give you a new definition of what it means to be an engineer”— encapsulates the purpose of this IEEE initiative: to entice students to explore academic and career paths in STEM. Realizing the importance of attracting and training future engineers, IEEE societies and councils are supporting the Summer Institute by sponsoring scholarships for attendees.

The Summer Institute introduces students entering grades 8 through 12 to the exciting fields of engineering and technology during a two-week on-campus program. The IEEE-designed curriculum combines team-based, hands-on design projects, guest speakers, academic preparation tips, and field visits.

Scholarships help make attending the program a reality for students with varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Several recipients commented that because of their family’s financial situation, attending this “eye-opening” and “life-changing” program would not have been possible without the scholarship.

When asked about supporting the Summer Institute, 2018 IEEE Broadcast Technology Society President William T. Hayes says, “For me it was the concept of getting kids to see that engineering can be interesting, fun, challenging and rewarding by tapping into the curiosity that they have about how things work. Putting them into a structured environment that is tailored for them, which allows for social exchange and collaboration, helps them solve problems and better understand complex systems by showing them the component parts and how they fit together.”

Hayes also highlighted the importance of training future generations of engineers and technologists. “I also see the Summer Institute as a way to address a concern Carl Sagan expressed in a 1994 article in the United Airlines magazine Hemispheres: ‘We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster.’

Hayes says, “Making sure that everyone is engaged and understands the technologies and sciences that we are applying will ensure that we make the best possible decisions for sustaining our existence.”

When asked about why the program was important to her, 2018 scholarship recipient Noemi Moreno says, “Working with microcontrollers, participating in the egg drop challenge, and designing a trebuchet, among other projects, taught me how to get comfortable working in a team and the importance of good communication.”

“The IEEE Power Electronics Society was eager to support this important IEEE program because inclusivity and diversity are at the heart of our core beliefs and the TryEngineering Summer Institute solidly supports this,” says Alan Mantooth, 2018 PELS president. “We look forward to deepening our participation in the program in the coming years with project ideas about power electronics and with local volunteers assisting with the curricular offerings.”

Another 2018 scholarship recipient, Vicki Cohen, says, “One of my favorite activities was our discussion on the ethics of engineering. This is the first engineering program I have been to that considered this aspect. We discussed everything from the inner workings and ethics of an electric chair to the ethics of robots taking human jobs and how religious beliefs influence medical practice.”

In 2018, these five societies sponsored scholarships:

  • IEEE Broadcast Technology Society
  • IEEE Electronics Packaging Society
  • IEEE Industry Applications Society
  • IEEE Power Electronics Society
  • IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society

To date, 12 societies and councils are sponsoring a scholarship for recipients attending the 2019 Summer Institute:

  • IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society
  • IEEE Broadcast Technology Society
  • IEEE Communications Society
  • IEEE Council on Superconductivity
  • IEEE Industry Applications Society
  • IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society
  • IEEE Nanotechnology Council
  • IEEE Photonics Society
  • IEEE Power & Energy Society
  • IEEE Power Electronics Society
  • IEEE Robotics and Automation Society
  • IEEE Signal Processing Society

As the program expands, it hopes to include IEEE societies and councils in developing the curriculum and having their members participate in the activities.

For information on sponsoring a scholarship, contact Burt Dicht, director of student and academic educational programs with IEEE Educational Activities, at b.dicht@ieee.org or +1 732 981 3419.

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