ASU’s Young Engineers Shape the World program inspiring students

Tempe, AZ | Submitted by Lauren Preble

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To encourage more women, first generation students, and underrepresented minority students to enter the growing field of engineering, Arizona State University launched Young Engineers Shape the World. Now entering its second year, the program is exposing high school students to engineering opportunities as a way to increase diversity in the industry. Bringing students with diverse backgrounds together is so important for fields like engineering, where problem-solving and future solutions are dependent on unique and varied perspectives.

With weekly three-hour workshops held at ASU’s Tempe, downtown Phoenix and Polytechnic campuses, in addition to the Tolleson Union High School District Office in the West Valley, Young Engineers Shape the World is reaching hundreds of students from all over the Valley.

How the Young Engineers Shape the World Program Works

Each weekly event familiarizes attendees with a different field of engineering, including civil, mechanical, electrical and more. After being introduced to undergraduate student mentors, youth are tasked with solving a real-world challenge. They work in teams to draft a solution, build a prototype, test it and rework their plans. Some challenges even come with more structure and directions, which is also an important part of becoming an engineer.

Engineering jobs are some of the best paid and fastest growing jobs in today’s economy. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that some of the most in-demand roles will see substantial growth between 2014 and 2024, including biomedical engineers (23.1 percent), environmental engineers (12.4 percent), and civil engineers (8.4 percent).

Beyond building their engineering knowledge, youth who are part of the program are making connections with college students who can share insight into college life. These casual conversations, paired with on-campus workshop locations, can help students get more comfortable with the idea of going to college.

Young Engineers Shape the World starts each new year with a kick-off conference, filled with college readiness workshops and engineering design challenges. In addition to the Saturday workshops that occur weekly, students also have access to Evening with Engineers events, where volunteers who are working in the industry come to speak on their role and network with the students. Active involvement in the variety of events offered through the program also provides students with the opportunity to become eligible for a $1,000 scholarship that is applied towards an engineering degree at ASU.

Impact of the Young Engineers Shape the World Program

Only two years in and the program is already gaining traction – 104 students participated in the first year, and 135 in the second. Having regular contact with students is a great way to build their interest in college and help them get inspired about their future. It’s certainly going to have an impact on the Arizona Education Progress Meter goal to improve post high school enrollment and attainment.

Here’s what some students had to say about their experience:

    • “I think that Young Engineers Shape the World was really inspiring. It brought more people to the engineering field — girls like me who weren’t sure if engineering was right for them. It really opened my eyes and made me believe I could do well in engineering.”
    • “Engineering is the thing I want to pursue. This event is a great opportunity to see how everything works. There are so many opportunities, and I think that’s really cool.”
    • “I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to go into engineering, but it showed me more options than I knew about before. It showed me how multiple engineers collaborate on a project.”

The program is focused on students who are headed into their sophomore or junior year. To learn more or apply to join Young Engineers Shape the World, visit the engineering outreach or registration page.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1744539. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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