Engineering: Because Dreams Need Doing*


Engineering at its core is about creativity and design.  The joy of a completed project is really amazing.  When the electric car project successfully rolled out of the shop on May 6, for the first time fully on electric power, the students on that project started whooping it up, running around, and even jumping for joy.  My students “saw that it was good.”  I wished I had a camera with me to record that exuberant moment but I did not.  Instead, I’ve tried to convey the joy of success at an engineering project via the stock photo above.  (From http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1033778 )

Many times have I talked to someone, usually a parent or teacher, who tells me of a young person who is, “really really good at math and science,” and recommends that this person would make a good engineer. This is a typical stereotype of engineering—that engineering is all about math and science.  Some engineering colleges are even located in the “Math and Applied Science Building” or “Math and Applied Science Division.”  That’s a really superficial view of Engineering.  Talent in math and science helps, but that’s not the whole story.  Sometimes students who have average talents at math and science do really well at engineering because they are creative.

Let me get back to that feeling of joy upon completion of a project. . . (I want to successfully finish another project!)  This joy in creativity is part of our humanity.  We are created in God’s image and God is a creative God.  Our creativity is a reflection of God’s creativity.

But there’s more.  God’s creativity is rooted in His love.  In the Genesis creation story each day ends with, “and God saw that it was good.”  At the end of Genesis 1, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”  That sounds to me like a kind of love for all of creation.  We are part of God’s creation.  When we glorify Him in our lives, God is also joyful.  The origin of true joy is God.  The joy of creatively solving technical problems is what good engineering is really about.

Engineering—it provides a way to do your best dreams.

Postscript:

*The slogan, “Engineering: because dreams need doing,” is proposed by the National Academy of Engineering.  Other proposed slogans are:

“A limitless imagination”

“An enterprising spirit”

“Free to explore”

“Ideas in action”

“Shape the future”

“Life takes engineering”

(Reference: Committee on Public Understanding of Engineering Messages, National Academy of Engineering, Changing the Conversation:Messages for Improving Public Understanding of Engineering, Published by the National Academies Press, 2008, available: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12187)

About Douglas De Boer

Please see my Dordt College homepage for more information about me. http://homepages.dordt.edu/~ddeboer/ Also be sure to see my "Curriculum Vita" for my personal testimony http://homepages.dordt.edu/~ddeboer/ddb/sum_cv.htm
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One Response to Engineering: Because Dreams Need Doing*

  1. On the lighter side of the topic of joy. . .

    Via a wall post by James Slegers on Facebook I have been informed of this parody of joy: “I Enjoy Being a Battery” from The Onion.

    “Enjoy being battery! Enjoy providing power for! Nine volts power! Last very long! Keep providing power until die! Give power and power and more power until cannot give. . .”

    Read the whole article at http://www.theonion.com/content/node/33926

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