The Why Engineering Survey
The "Why Engineering Survey" Project is an outgrowth of the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) at the University of Central Florida's College of Engineering and Computer Science. The ISTF is a national technology literacy competition that challenges pre-college students to collaborate with practicing professionals as they research technical solutions to real world problems. Through the years, the staff at Office of Special Programs (OSP) has witnessed the impact of the ISTF student team – technical advisor working relationship both in terms of successful projects and through student and teacher feedback. Some students reported references their advisors made to their early education, what they experienced during their college years and lessons learned in the workplace. It appeared these insights had a very positive impact per the students' remarks.
Building on what ISTF students have experienced, in February 2003, the OSP staff decided to go directly to practicing engineering professionals to learn first-hand why they became engineers. Information obtained will help to advance current knowledge regarding decisions made relating to engineers' early years, their academic studies and experiences in the workplace. This added knowledge could assist a variety of end-users in developing programs, policy and outreach efforts to recruit and retain engineering students and to recruit and retain engineers as members of the workforce.
The first pilot test of the survey was conducted in cooperation with UCF's College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumni and some local engineers. During 2004, two additional pilot tests were conducted and in both cases the responses were small, but very informative. In October 2004, UCF-CECS partnered with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to conduct the largest and most informative survey to date.
The results of the surveys are available per the sidebar to the left. OSP continues to refine the survey tool
and manner in which the survey is administered based on respondents' feedback. Efforts are underway to conduct the survey with
other national engineering organizations. Announcements and updates will be published under
the Current Surveys link.