October 2006 Volume 31, Number 10
PBS Series Reaches Out To Budding Engineers
|Members of one of the Design Squad teams - from left, Natasha, Noah, Kim, and Michael - take a break from building a machine that automatically feeds a soccer ball to a player.
|Click here for a larger image.
Ascehas joined several national engineering and educational organizations as an outreach partner in the new pbs series Design Squad, which will feature teams of high school students applying problem-solving skills to design, construct, and test engineering projects. Scheduled to debut during Engineers Week in February, the series, which was filmed this past summer in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will include programs showcasing, for example, a machine that automatically makes pancakes and a motorized red wagon that can attain speeds of 20 mph (32.2 km/h).
Civil engineering in the television medium has reached far beyond technical science shows and is reaching out to younger audiences with dynamic programs that show how engineering is fun and useful. Television programs like these afford young people the opportunity to explore such technical fields as engineering as possible career paths.
asce has a history of seeing the value in introducing young people to the field of engineering through the popularity of television. The Society previously partnered with wgbh, the producers of Design Squad, on two other educational programs - zoom into Engineering and the television series Building Big. The latter explored the wonders of modern engineering and was sponsored by asce as one of a number of initiatives marking its 150th anniversary.
In addition to being an innovator in television-based public education outreach, asce and its members are regularly sought out to provide expert analysis for documentaries dealing with important infrastructure issues. Moreover, the Society serves on the editorial board for a consortium of engineering and technical organizations that produces segments for local newscasts and recently sponsored the pbs documentary "America Rebuilds, Part II, Return to Ground Zero." asce also served as a technical adviser for the nova documentary "Building on Ground Zero."
The Society's partnership in Design Squad and other programs is made possible by the Public Image Voluntary Fund, which aims to raise the stature of the profession and to give the public a better understanding of civil engineering. asce offers its members the option of directing their contributions to this fund to support programs that celebrate the ingenuity of civil engineers.
To view clips of the Design Squad series, visit http://pbskids.org/designsquad/. Clips of the documentaries dealing with Ground Zero are available at http://www.pbs.org. For more information about asce's involvement in Design Squad, visit http://apps.asce.org/membership/voluntary/designsquad.