Recently I was invited to attend a DiscoverE Future City competition event, being that I had never heard of the program I was interested and began to do a bit of research, here’s what I found out: – DiscoverE’s mission is to sustain and grow a dynamic engineering profession through outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism. – The Future City competition asks middle-school students to imagine, design, and build cities of the future. After four months of designing a virtual city, researching, designing, and writing up their solution to a city-wide issue and building a scale model of their city, teams will present their vision to a panel of judges. This to me was absolutely amazing but since I was not a parent or educator, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to give the necessary input requested, but then I realized my godson would benefit from this program immensely if it were brought to his area in North Carolina. My godson, Quez is 11, and has been hooked on building and creating with Legos and other odds and ends around the house since he was 3 or 4. His mother and I used to just sit in awe from a distance and watch him entertain himself for hours building. With every year comes a different challenge, this year the teams were giving the theme of “Feeding Future Cities”. As I walked around the floor of the competition I was amazed not only by the ingenuity but also by the diversity that encompassed the teams. There were all girl teams, all boy teams, multicultural teams; and they all represented their state or region well. Regardless of the their personal background, these students were able to come together as teams and create what they believe to be a sustainable environment for the future; as a adults we could definitely take some pointers. When I engaged with a few of the teams, in between their meetings with judges, I was impressed by how the students had researched sustainable resources, protein, vegetable, and power sources. I’m a firm believer that at this age their minds are very sincere about the changing the world around them for the better. Through the Future City competition the 37 teams were given a sense of empowerment to change the world around them by creating solutions to urban agricultural needs in the future. I personally would have never come up with these solutions at my age, not that I didn’t care at that time, but more or less these types of engineering projects weren’t in the curriculum from what I could remember.
The afternoon was extremely fun and engaging, I wish I had my godson with me so he could talk to the students about their experiences and their thoughts on engineering for social good. Next year I plan to have him in toe and take him to as many DiscoverE events I can find. By the time I was fully aware of what DiscoverE had to offer all the awesome programs here in DC to take my godson to had passed; events like Family Day at the Building Museum and Engineers Week, but this godmother is now officially on her get “STEM Educated” duties.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of DiscoverE. The opinions and text are all mine.