The National Science Foundation has awarded a five year, two-million dollar grant to Iowa State University and Des Moines Area Community College to boost the number of students earning engineering degrees. The goal is to create a program that will increase the number of ISU students earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering by 120 per year by 2012.
Diane Rover is an associate dean in the ISU College of Engineering. "We just need greater awareness," Rover says, "among parents, teachers, and students on what engineering is all about, how it impacts society, and how it can be an exciting career path." The program will involve showing young students the wide range of job options available in the field of engineering.
For instance, Rover says many believe all a mechanical engineer does is build a car, "but if you’re a mechanical engineer, you can also create artificial limbs that help people with various health issues." Rover says there’s no one type of student that can excel in engineering.
"Certainly it’s someone who’s interested in being creative," Rover says, "and you don’t necessarily have to love math and science to be a good engineer. So one of the things we’re trying to do is make students, parents, and teachers aware that there isn’t one stereotypical student that will succeed in engineering and enjoy engineering as a career." Engineers earn average starting salaries of $54,200.