Is it enough to get students excited about engineering?

Catapult Engineering Academy Posted on May 5, 2015 by Mark Conner

In 2010 I wrote an article for Today’s Engineer entitled “Yes, You Can Teach Engineering in High School.” The question at the heart of the article was, “Is it enough to get students excited about engineering?” The question was prompted by the dramatic increase between 2000 and 2010 in the number of engineering-related competitions for students from elementary through high school and the use of the term engineering in relation to K-12 education. There have been no signs of the trend slowing in the five years since the article was published. The primary focus of these competitions has been to get students excited about engineering careers by exposing them to what engineers do, or at least part of what they do – design. The increased focus on engineering has gone hand-in-hand with a shortage of engineers and other Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, professionals in the U.S.

The answer to the question that I posed in the article was, “No” (but I said it very politely!). Generating excitement about engineering IS important, but it is only part of what needs to be happening in K-12 education. Getting students excited about engineering without adequately preparing them for what it takes to become an engineer does little, if anything, to produce more engineers. Preparation for engineering means more than general “college prep.” Catapult Engineering Academy seeks to truly prepare students, equipping them to become engineers, innovators and leaders who will change the world. This means ensuring that our students are:

  1. Prepared academically for the rigor of an
    undergraduate engineering curriculum
  2. Informed about college choices, majors, admissions
    and financial aid options
  3. Aware of career paths related to engineering
  4. Connected to people all along the engineering pipeline

Our website will provide key information related to who we are as a company and the products and services that we provide. At the core of Catapult is a four-year curriculum that mirrors the first two years of an undergraduate engineering course of study on many levels. These online courses and the associated resources are the primary means of making sure that our students are prepared academically. Our blog will be the vehicle for equipping students, parents, teachers and administrators to be informed, aware and connected.