I was asked in an interview, "What do you say when someone states not all students will become engineers." This question could be phrased a different way and really what my interviewers were asking was, "Why is it important for all students to study engineering?" This question got me thinking to what engineering actually was. There is a general preconceived notion as to what engineering is.
By definition, engineering is "the application of science and mathematics by which the properties of matter and the sources of energy in nature are made useful to people; the design and manufacture of complex products" (Merriam-Webster, 2016).
I feel that all children are born engineers. As toddlers, all children are exploring their world. Children build tall structures with blocks, build living room forts out of blankets and pillows, build cities out of sand at the beach, and take things apart to see how they work.
At some point, this creativity and innovation in children trickles away. Whether it is taught out of children or just replaced with other interests and expectations, the natural tendency to build, create, and innovate is lost.
While not all students will go on to have "engineer" in their title, engineering is present in many professions. Auto mechanics are engineers. Building and landscape architects are engineers. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians are engineers. Seamstresses are engineers. Your neighbor who tinkers in his/her garage is an engineer. Artists and writers are engineers. And so on, and so on. So, I think the issue is our preconceived notion of what engineering actually is. With that being said, I am going to go be an engineer and finish building my sofa table that is topped with sections of wooden wine crates!