Welcome to Engineering A Future (EAF)! EAF is a website dedicated to inspiring the next generation of engineers by inspiring interest in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields amongst the general public. In order to truly understand what EAF is all about, it’s helpful to take a flashback-type approach to the story of EAF.
In the Fall of 2008, EAF’s founder and team leader (Brian) was in a state of confusion regarding what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go with/in his life. Like many high school students, Brian had been too busy thinking about the present to plan for the future and, up until his senior year, college just seemed like the last of his concerns. Unfortunately, senior year tends to sneak up on many high school students and Brian was no exception. Before he knew it, all of his friends were applying to programs at “four-year” colleges and Brian was left trying to connect the dots and figure out what his plans would be. After a great deal of effort towards trying to decide on a future career and little to no progress resulting from these efforts, Brian resolved to focus his efforts on getting a job, perhaps taking some classes at the local community college, and figuring out his plans later on down the line; however, his friends and family had different plans for him.
After a great deal of pressure from his friends and family, Brian changed his decision regarding college and began to look into “four-year” colleges and various types of programs. Eventually Brian enrolled as a mechanical engineering major at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP), figuring that since he liked working with his hands, this would be the perfect field for him…at the time, Brian had no idea what mechanical engineering actually consisted of, but this all changed pretty quickly once his classes began.
Introduction to Engineering
It was not long before Brian found himself submerged in a world of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, that quickly transitioned to complex courses in fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, mechanics of materials, materials science, statics & dynamics, control systems, mechanical measurements, and many other subjects. Contrary to what Brian had initially believed, mechanical engineering was not working with his hands as he had thought; to Brian, it was something far better and more interesting. Brian found that he loved the challenge associated with these highly complex, surprisingly practical scientific classes. It was clear that, through some supremely unimaginable sort of luck, Brian had stumbled his way into doing something that he loved.
By the Fall of 2012, Brian had become convinced that he would find no greater passion that mechanical engineering and began to wonder how he could have possibly come as close as he did to not identifying this incredible field of study that had become the point of focus for almost all of the efforts of his everyday life. It was at this time that Brian began to think about the stark contrast between what he had thought mechanical engineering was before he started at CPP and what he now knew it to be. Brian thought about his pre-college education in comparison to his current situation and one thing became very apparent: he did not know what mechanical engineering was before because he was never told what mechanical engineering was before.
The Problem Statement
As children grow up and move through their education from preschool to kindergarten to elementary school to middle school and finally high school, they are mostly taught the same core curriculum. They are taught about things such as English, literature, history, art, health, politics, biology, mathematics, chemistry, and maybe some introductory physics. As a result of this kind of exposure, by the time high school students are ready to apply for college, most of them have a pretty good idea of what kind of careers are available in these fields and what someone working in these fields would do. It becomes apparent here that there was one major category missing from the previous list: engineering. When Brian was growing up, the only people who ever took a class in engineering were people who were planning on becoming engineers. Engineering coursework was not taught in the same capacity as all of these other subjects and so, unless you happened to have family members, friends, or family friends who were engineers, chances are you would never learn what engineering was unless you decided to study engineering in college, without having ever been exposed to it. Clearly this is indicative of a serious issue with regards to providing the next generation of engineers.
Now, today things are a little bit different. Small like-minded engineering outreach programs are beginning to pop up in schools across the nation where college engineering students might come give a presentation to an elementary school science class or a high school physics class might go to a college campus to participate in some sort of technology-related competition (Cal Poly Pomona has been especially outgoing in these regards). The bottom line, however, has not changed. The average high school student is still unlikely to know what engineering is at the time of their college applications. This, in turn, translates to many would-be engineers pursuing different career paths instead because they did not know what engineering is or that engineering was even an option. It is unfortunate to see these kinds of things happen and one wonders how many high school students might have become world-class engineers that could have revolutionized the world as we know it, had they just known to consider engineering as a career option. Brian swore to provide a remedy to this issue.
The First Attempt at a Solution (EAF’s Founding)
In December 2012, Brian started EngineeringAFuture.com with two true goals in mind:
- To help spread awareness of engineering to a broad audience in the hope of convincing as many of the future generation of college students as possible to pursue engineering
- To inspire current engineering students to really grow their passions for engineering
Unfortunately, as a fourth year mechanical engineering student, running a STEM website alone with a full-time course load and while pushing for internships proved too daunting a task for Brian and so EAF never got its feet off the ground.
The Second Attempt at a Solution (Team UV)
Flash forward to April 2014, when Brian started his senior project team with the goal of designing an innovative, highly maneuverable, quick, stealthy unmanned underwater vehicle to perform information gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance in order to save lives by taking the special operators who would generally conduct these missions out of the field. To take on this challenge, Brian assembled a team of four other members (Andrew, Ketton, Abraham, and Ben) and set out to meet his project’s mission objectives and thus Team UV was born. Brian had two main goals as founder and leader of Team UV:
- Lead the team in producing the best project results possible
- Help the team to grow as much as possible
To fulfill goal #2, Brian took many extra measures, but perhaps the one that proved the most beneficial to the team was the founding of their website, TeamUV.org, where they would publish blog posts about some of the research they had done during their project and to help to inspire interest in the STEM fields amongst the general public. Brian used TeamUV.org to provide Team UV an opportunity to gain experience in communicating complex ideas in more understandable ways, to help the members of Team UV to identify their passions with regards to engineering, to help the team to develop critical thinking skills, and to do what he had originally created EAF to do.
Building on Success (EAF’s Relaunch)
After 15 months and 5,000+ total man hours, the project was completed and TeamUV.org was brought to a close after a 345 days and 168 posts. During that time, Team UV was able to share their passions for engineering with 114 WordPress followers, and many more email followers and readers from 115 countries for more than 8,300 views. Much more importantly, Team UV received feedback from a number of people who told them that TeamUV.org had in fact inspired them to consider or get excited about engineering. Team UV had not only been successful with their project goals, but had also been successful in their outreach goals. It was during this successful journey with his teammates that Brian determined that the most logical course of action would be to maintain the momentum created through TeamUV.org and relaunch EAF, this time with help from his team. On Monday, July 13th, 2015 at 0800 hours, EngineeringAFuture.com relaunched with three new members: Abraham, Ketton, and Andrew. EAF is completely revamped and extremely excited at the prospect of bringing more attention to the opportunities in the STEM fields.
The Revised Action Plan
At Engineering A Future, we would like to see the day when every high school student knows what engineering is prior to filling out their college applications. We want to open up the possibility of studying engineering to as many people as we can reach. EAF has been optimized with one goal in mind: to get as many people as humanly possible excited about STEM. Crazy, right? Well we believe that we have the perfect team to do it and that we are more than prepared to hit the ground running, help people to learn, learn (ourselves), and just have fun with it. In order to do this, we have just about completely overhauled our style of posting.
EAF Posting Plan
EAF will be posting three times a week (just like Team UV had been), but this time we will be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Posts will go live at 0800 (purely so that our followers who check the site early will already have the content up to read, rather than having to wait around for two hours) and the social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) sharing of the posts will be sent out at 1000 hours (two hours later). Post categories have been almost completely revamped and the new categories will consist of:
- Blog Posts (Monday – Brian, Wednesday – other EAF members & guests)
- Techno Babble: Much like our Well Read posts; talking about interesting science/engineering being done today
- Lecture Notes: Much like our Presentation posts; mini lectures on cool science and engineering
- Open Mind: This category will be carried over; insight into the engineering mindset
- Guest Posts: This is a cool new category where people from outside EAF can submit requests to write guest posts on EAF! Read more here.
- Picture Posts (Friday): Very short descriptions (1-3 sentences on average) accompanied by cool STEM-related pictures
- EAF News: Short announcement posts whenever there is a change to EAF
Website Design & Future Features
On top of this, the new website is far more aesthetically pleasing, has many cool features and pages, and will hopefully mean a much more awesome experience for our readers and followers. Some notable features are as follows:
- Recent EAF News Banner: At the top of the screen, you’ll see that we have a scrolling banner that shows the most recent EAF News-style posts to keep you up-to-date on what we have going on!
- Search Bars: Located both in our main menu and at the footer at the bottom of the page. Search for your favorite content!
- Motivational Quote: Check the bottom left footer for an awesome quote from an amazing mechanical engineer!
- Wounded Warrior Project: Join EAF in showing your support for the men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our safety and freedoms everyday through the Wounded Warrior Project!
- Email Subscription: Want to get all of our latest posts and updates sent to you via email? Subscribe today and get connected with EAF!
- Video of the Week: Every week, we will have a cool new video posted in the “Video of the Week” section in the sidebar. These videos will, of course, tie to STEM in some way, shape, or form. Check out our current video in the sidebar now!
- Link of the Month: Every month, we will update this section (also in the sidebar, directly below the “Video of the Week” section) with an awesome link that will help us to connect with our readers with regards to all things engineering. Go on and check out our current link now!
- Archives: Below the previously mentioned sections, you can find our post archives organized by both month and by category.
- Social Media: Follow EAF on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
- Meet the Team: Meet the members of the EAF team and learn a little bit about them!
- EAF Posts Calendar: Check out when your favorite EAF writers are scheduled to post and think about guest writing!
- Contact EAF: The EAF team is always happy to hear from our readers, so drop us a line!
- TeamUV.org: Access our old website and check out where we came from by following the TeamUV.org link in the main menu!
Lastly, we have some very cool ideas in the works for some awesome new types of content that will launch later on down the road.
In closing, we want to thank our readers/supporters/followers for joining us along this journey and sincerely hope that all of you will enjoy what we have in store for the future!
Thank you for your time