Since the release in 2008 of Changing the Conversation, a number of institutions have either directly used or adapted its messages and taglines. Other organizations, mostly in industry, have created messaging about engineering that, while not based specifically on the CTC report, is very much in the spirit of its recommendation to portray engineering as a profession that makes a difference in people’s lives. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE), for its part, has undertaken new projects that build on the report, including (1) development of an online “toolkit” (www.engineeringmessages.org) that supports those engaged in messaging efforts and (2) creation of a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/engineersctc) to facilitate broader discussion of engineering messaging through social media.
We present several cases illustrating the implementation and impacts of messaging based directly on the CTC positioning statement, messages, and taglines. The cases represent some of the most ambitious and well-documented attempts to date to reposition engineering.
Society of Women Engineers
The Society of Women Engineers (SWE), established in 1950, has long worked to improve the image of engineering, particularly among females and underrepresented minorities. Its outreach efforts have included print and web-based materials for the public, society-sponsored programs, and materials and training for the more than 400 SWE sections. With the publication of Changing the Conversation, SWE reworked all of its messaging products to align with the CTC positioning statement and messages.
The SWE’s rebranding efforts took place on a number of fronts, not only in its print and web-based outreach materials but also at its signature events, Invent It. Build It. and Wow! That’s Engineering!, both designed to increase interest in engineering among girls. These events include sessions for the teachers, parents, and other adults who accompany the girls so that these adults can reinforce the CTC messages with the girls. And because individual SWE sections use materials from these events in their outreach efforts, the CTC messages get an even broader exposure. In addition, SWE operates an online training center for volunteers who wish to increase engineering’s appeal among girls. More than 1,600 volunteers have completed this “basic training,” which provides details about the CTC messages and their use.
SWE also collaborates with three other engineering professional organizations—the National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and American Indian Science and Engineering Society—to increase minority participation in engineering. The collaboration, referred to as 4Ä (www.outreach4change.org), is now using Changing the Conversation as the basis for its own messages. The test populations that reacted to the original CTC messages included significant numbers of black and Hispanic adults and teens, so members of the collaboration are confident that the messages will be effective with these audiences.
Further extending its outreach and impact, SWE works with engineering companies through its Corporate Partnership Council, whose 62 members are leading employers of engineers. After a presentation on the CTC messages, a number of the participating companies incorporated the messages in their corporate outreach. For example, Dell
modified its poster for National Engineers Week (E-Week; www.eweek.org), the long-standing celebration of engineering held each year in February, to use CTC messages. Abbott Labs, which offers a career fair for middle and high school students, gave the CTC tagline “Turning dreams into reality” a prominent place at the fair, and at a high school program company engineers selected a CTC tagline and connected it with the type of work they do. GM incorporated the CTC messaging in a K–12 engineering curriculum project, A World in Motion®, that it sponsors in Detroit. And at Agilent, the newsletter of a women’s affinity group described the CTC messaging to its readers.
SWE members discussed CTC messaging at a session of the 2011 Annual Conference for Women Engineers. At the end of the session, participants were asked to take specific steps to promote the messages when they returned to their home institutions. The messages and taglines were also visible in a number of media at the conference, from the inclusion of “Engineers make a world of difference” on slides shown at the awards banquet to the printing of a CTC tagline on the shirts of the Genentech recruiting team.
University of Colorado–Boulder
At the University of Colorado–Boulder, the College of Engineering undertook a major rebranding effort based on Changing the Conversation. Jackie Sullivan, the college’s associate dean for inclusive excellence, served on the CTC committee and took the lead in introducing CTC messages on campus (Sullivan 2010). She began by talking with the engineering college’s communications staff; once they were convinced of the value of the CTC approach, a number of campuswide workshops were held to generate ideas for applying the approach at CU-Boulder. Brainstorming at these workshops led to the design by the engineering communications staff of new engineering recruiting brochures with aspirational messages. Recruiting postcards now feature CTC messages and ask prospective students “How will the world CU?”
Soon individual engineering departments embraced and adapted the enhanced recruiting efforts. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering created a postcard with CTC messages to entice
high school students to attend its design expo (Figure 2-1), and the Department of Mechanical Engineering produced a brochure based on CTC messages to appeal to female and minority students. At about the same time, the College of Engineering produced new recruiting postcards with the tagline “Engineer your life”1 and pictures showing diverse college students enjoying a variety of extracurricular activities: flying a plane, riding a bicycle, and salsa dancing.
Two CTC messages and a tagline are used pervasively at the college: “Engineers make a world of difference” and “Engineers help shape the future” resonate with the campus community’s green culture and renewable energy focus, and “Because dreams need doing” is popular because of its strong aspirational tone (research in the original CTC project also found this message to be equally appealing to young men and women).
In 2012 the number of minority students who enrolled in the College of Engineering, 109, was more than double the average number enrolled annually between 2004 and 2008. Over the past 4 years, the 6-year retention (through to graduation) rate of minority students increased from 34 percent to 53 percent, a 56 percent jump. Annual average female first-year enrollment, which between 2004 and 2008 stood at 137, rose to an average of 178 women per year for the 2009– 2012 period. During the 2004–2008 span, women constituted 20 percent of the engineering class, while during the more recent period, their share increased to 25 percent, a 25 percent rise. It is impossible to prove that these increases were due to the new messages, but they are certainly encouraging.
Engineer Your Life Website
The Engineer Your Life (EYL) website is the centerpiece of a national campaign to encourage college-bound girls to explore engineering.
1 “Engineer your life” is a tagline, the name of a website (www.engineeryourlife.org), and a project to interest high school girls in the possibilities offered by a career in engineering. The tagline was developed with the help of the same PR firm (BBMG) and market research company (Global Strategy Group) that helped create the CTC messages and taglines. More on the website in the next section.
The campaign, funded in large part by the National Science Foundation, is overseen by a partnership of WGBH Boston, the NAE, and the Extraordinary Women Engineers Project coalition. The EYL messages are spread by more than 100 coalition members, which include colleges and universities, engineering and educational organizations, and corporations such as 3M, DuPont, Intel, and Lockheed Martin. Besides reaching out to girls through the EYL website and extensive social networking, the project offers a variety of resources for communicating with young people about engineering careers for use by parents, school counselors, engineering professionals, and college recruiters.
In addition to the CTC messages, the EYL project created new ones similar in feel and approach but developed and tested specifically with girls’ career aspirations and motivations in mind. The four best-testing messages, according to EYL survey results (Wolsky 2011, p. 32), were the following:
• Live your life, love what you do. Engineering will challenge you to turn dreams into realities while giving you the chance to travel, work with inspiring people, and give back to your community.
• Creativity has its rewards. Women engineers are respected, recognized, and financially rewarded for their innovative thinking and creative solutions.
• Make a world of difference. From small villages to big cities, organic farms to mountaintops, deep-sea labs to outer space, women engineers are going where there is the greatest need and making a lasting contribution.
• Explore possibilities. Women engineers often use their skills to go into business, medicine, law, or government. An engineering education will prepare you for many different careers.
The EYL website features video profiles of young women engineers, descriptions of interesting engineering jobs, and a list of “Ten great reasons why you’ll love” engineering (Figure 2-2). EYL’s social networking channels offer posts and discussions on six Facebook fan pages: EYL, Creativity, Making a Difference, Dream Jobs, Design, and
FIGURE 2-2 Screenshot of Engineer Your Life “Why Engineering?” Page Featuring Excerpts from Several CTC Messages
The Engineer’s Pledge (Box 2-1). EYL also provides training sessions to ensure that thousands of engineers and educators know how to talk about engineering positively, and effectively, to girls.
IEEE Video Contest
The US organization of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE-USA) took a very different approach to spreading the messages of Changing the Conversation. During the 2008–2009 school year, it launched an annual scholarship contest for undergraduate students to create a 90-second video promoting engineering to 11- to 13-year-olds, based on the CTC theme “Engineers make a world of difference” (Figure 2-3). There are four categories of prizes totaling $5,000.
Initially the competition was open to teams composed solely of IEEE student members, but teams now can include non-IEEE members as long as there is at least one IEEE student member participating. The
The Engineer’s Pledge
The Engineer’s Pledge appears on the Engineer Your Life Facebook page and the EYL project website. It asks visitors to help give engineering a better image by letting people know how exciting and rewarding an engineering career can be. Engineers need to change the way they talk about engineering, it says. By liking the Facebook page, visitors are pledging to
• tell people about the creative aspects of engineering,
• promote the collaborative nature of engineering, and
• talk about how engineering makes a difference.
As of early 2013, nearly 1,800 people had liked the page.
FIGURE 2-3 IEEE-USA Notice Describing Its 2011–2012 “World of Difference” Video Contest
contest is advertised on the IEEE-USA and IEEE student websites, and announcements are distributed through IEEE student email lists, ads in the IEEE student magazine, and postings on Facebook.
The winning entries are announced during each year’s E-Week and are showcased in various ways, including through posting on the Design Squad website and YouTube; a prizewinning entry in the 2011– 2012 contest created by an Ohio University student was viewed more than 4,000 times on YouTube. The winning videos are also provided on DVDs to every IEEE student chapter in the United States.
Although there have been relatively few entries in the contest each year—in part because few undergraduates outside of IEEE student chapters know about the contest—the quality of the entries has improved consistently, and the contest is an excellent example of a creative approach to spreading the messages articulated in Changing the Conversation. The winning entries are selected by a panel of judges comprising Nate Ball, a mechanical engineer and cohost of PBS’s Design Squad Nation, and two graduate student members of IEEE.
National Engineers Week Foundation
National Engineers Week Foundation (NEWF) has been applying the CTC messaging for years. In fact, even before the 2008 publication of Changing the Conversation, NEWF used one of the best-testing taglines from the CTC project, “Turning ideas into reality,” as well as the message “Engineers make a world of difference” in posters and other promotional materials. The theme for the 2012 event drew on a different tagline: “Seven billion people. Seven billion dreams. Seven billion chances for engineers to turn dreams into reality” (Figure 2-4). For its 2010–2011 Future City competition, NEWF used the tagline “Dreams need doing” in the promotional poster; teacher handbook; volunteer handbook; and handouts for sponsors, parents, and volunteers. E-Week also uses the CTC messages when promoting its Family Engineering Day. Held each year during National Engineers Week, the event draws between 6,000 and 10,000 children and adults to the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, making it the largest public event the facility hosts. And NEWF has used the CTC messaging in ads in
FIGURE 2-4 2012 National Engineers Week Promotion Poster
USA Today announcing its New Faces in Engineering program, which recognizes the work of early-career engineers.
National Academy of Engineering
The NAE has spread the CTC messages and taglines in a variety of ways, in part by linking them with its programs and other activities. For example, to spread the word about the Grand Challenges for Engineering project, which identified 14 important issues facing humanity that will require engineering talent to address, the Academy created a bumper sticker (Figure 2-5) that combines the project’s URL (www.engineeringchallenges.org) with the tagline “Because dreams need doing.” Some 11,000 of the stickers have been distributed.
In addition, the Grand Challenges website invites visitors to “See how engineers can make a world of difference.” A popup window links to four specially produced videos on the main challenge themes: sus-
FIGURE 2-5 Grand Challenges for Engineering Bumper Sticker
tainability, health, security, and joy of living (www.nae.edu/Activities/Projects/grand-challenges-project/57302.aspx). A brief fifth video, Build Your Dream, synthesizes the themes as a narrator says, “Out of each generation step a few bold individuals—bright dreamers and tenacious doers—who envision a smarter world, who evolve the promise of today into the joy of tomorrow. We call them engineers.” The Grand Challenges site also provides a link to the CTC homepage.
The NAE used the message “Engineers Turn Ideas into Reality” in a poster to solicit nominations for the 2014 Bernard M. Gordon Prize, a $500,000 award that recognizes innovations in engineering and technology education (Figure 2-6). Some 500 copies of the poster were distributed to engineering schools and engineering-related organizations.
As part of a National Academies–wide effort, in 2010 the NAE participated in the inaugural Science and Engineering Festival, an event on the National Mall in Washington that drew a half-million people to 550 hands-on activities and exhibits with a science or engineering focus. The NAE exhibit, developed in partnership with Walt Disney Studios, focused on the technology and engineering featured in the movie Tron: Legacy and also made connections to the Grand Challenges for Engineering. Signage for the entire National Academies effort used the CTC message “Because dreams need doing” (Figure 2-7).
The NAE devoted the summer 2011 issue of its quarterly magazine The Bridge to the subject of engineering messaging. The issue featured an introductory editorial by DuPont Chair of the Board and CEO Ellen Kullman, an article detailing engineering’s “image problem” by NAE President Charles M. Vest, and four additional articles addressing topics such as how rebranding initiatives are designed, the elements of
FIGURE 2-7 National Academies Signage for 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival
large-scale outreach campaigns, and use of the CTC messages at the University of Colorado–Boulder to recruit new students (described above). The Bridge is mailed to about 7,000 subscribers, including all members of Congress, NAE members, and participants in the NAE’s Frontiers of Engineering program (www.naefrontiers.org).
Dr. Vest has actively promoted and encouraged the use of the CTC messages. For example, he noted their importance in his speech on the future of engineering at the 2011 NAE Annual Meeting (Vest 2011) and in April 2012 when he spoke to representatives of some 60 engineering professional groups at the NAE Convocation of Professional Engineering Societies (Vest 2012). Ms. Kullman promoted the CTC messages in speeches to the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in April 2010 and the executive committee of the Society of Chemical Industry Americas Group in March 2011. In 2012 she encouraged use of the messages during a jobs and competitiveness discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations, a panel discussion at the U.S. News STEM Solutions conference, an NBC Education Nation roundtable, and an award acceptance speech at the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.
A number of noteworthy messaging efforts both before and since the publication of Changing the Conversation are very much in the spirit of the CTC messages and taglines. These efforts are of two types: (1) those
that have customized or adapted the CTC messages to an organization’s needs or goals and (2) those that have developed independently of the CTC project but that are consistent in tone and meaning with its messages. The latter not only provide additional examples of effective messaging but also suggest movement in the engineering community toward messages that portray engineering as an inspiring career option for people to take on interesting challenges and help make the world a better place.
Customized or Adapted CTC Messages
The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) began reworking its advertising and public relations efforts in 2006. The group had traditionally been concerned mainly with influencing legislative decisions that affected its member firms’ interests, but two developments led to a reconsideration. First, the results of a survey of its members showed that many engineering managers were worried about the supply of new engineers. And second, members had learned about the NAE’s work on public understanding of engineering and its call for a new approach to messaging emphasizing the creativity of the profession and the potential to make a difference through a career in engineering.
Spurred by these developments, ACEC New York undertook a “vision campaign” aimed at conveying the creative nature of engineering in order to inspire young people to consider it as a profession. With a budget of less than $40,000, the organization had to look for ways to grab attention quickly with a universal message based on the foundation of NAE research and market-tested messages. The result was a compelling visual image combined with messages and taglines—“Your vision can change the world” and “Engineering . . . takes creativity, imagination, and vision”—that capture the excitement and importance of engineering. A young person was pictured looking through a pair of binoculars directly at the viewer, with two different images in the two glass lenses of the binoculars: a cityscape and a view of the earth from many miles above the surface (Figure 2-8).
During the 2009 E-Week, the ad achieved the ultimate in visibility. With funding from the Siemens Corporation, ACEC New York
FIGURE 2-8 ACEC New York Ad Promoting Engineering
transformed the static ad into an animated 30-second spot that was displayed on the ABC Studios Jumbotron screen in New York’s Times Square. It ran about once an hour throughout the week, reaching an estimated 1.2 million viewers (O’Grady 2010).
Independently Developed Messages
A number of organizations, mostly in industry, have included and sometimes highlighted engineers and engineering in their marketing efforts through either traditional corporate advertising (i.e., touting the company’s products or brand) or outreach to attract new employees.
A good example of the former is a Lenovo online video that promotes the company’s laptop computers (Patterson 2010). The computers are shown being tested in various extreme conditions—under water, in the middle of the desert, in outer space—with the implication that the laptops are completely reliable. But the ad’s tagline—“From the world’s best engineers come the world’s best-engineered PCs”—makes the role of engineers explicit, and the images throughout the video feature engineers working in very interesting, even exotic, settings.
A good example of recruiting-focused messaging is from the Norwegian company Norsk Hydro, which made a series of amusing commercials showing teenagers using technology to pull off creative pranks. In one, a group of youths modifies a train track to create a giant loop-the-loop roller coaster: a train comes zooming down the
track, zips up and around the vertical loop, and then continues speeding down the track as the kids cheer (Norsk Hydro 2008a). In another, a group of teenagers rig an adult’s car so that they can steer it using a radio-control device; when the adult gets in, they send the car careening around the neighborhood, crashing through a garage, and driving tilted up on the driver’s-side wheels (Norsk Hydro 2008b). At the end of each mini-story flashes the message “There are many young engineers. We can’t wait till they grow up.”
Similarly, Texas Instruments created a series of “Thank an engineer” videos that offer humorous looks at how various technologies add to people’s lives by, for example, envisioning a world without a particular technology. A piece on MP3 players shows people getting their music from cassette tape–playing boom boxes that they carry with them as they go jogging, ride a bicycle, or mow the lawn (Texas Instruments 2011). The video ends by saying, “TI salutes the engineers who have enhanced the world in so many ways. Thank you for all you do.”
In a more serious vein, a 6-minute Cisco (2007) recruiting video features a group of women engineers talking about what they do for the computer networking company. The images are chosen to send the message that these are just “regular” people—they are shown skateboarding, playing field hockey, holding a kitten—and the women directly address the point that they had been raised to think that engineering is just for boys but discovered that it isn’t. The women’s descriptions of what they do convey both the creativity of their jobs and the satisfaction they get from doing things to make people’s lives better. One woman comments, “I could have been a doctor or . . . a teacher, but I chose to be an engineer, and I still get to help people.”
A number of other companies have produced advertising or recruiting materials that reflect the spirit of Changing the Conversation (Table 2-1). They focus on the value of engineering to people’s lives and on the creativity of the engineering profession, and show that a career in engineering is within reach for many young people who have vision and a desire to solve problems and help people.
TABLE 2-1 Additional Examples of Industry Messaging in the Spirit of Changing the Conversation
|ABB||“Future Astronauts” is a 30-second ad showing a diverse group of kids around a conference table imagining what is needed to put humans on Mars.||“We’ll need lots of engineers” and “Ingenuity at Work.”||www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0j87GdB3to|
|ExxonMobil||“ExxonMobil Math and Science” is a video featuring two company engineers who talk about being interested in engineering at a young age. Math and science skills are emphasized.||“ExxonMobil Math and Science” is described as a program that helps harness young students’ interest in “tinkering” early so that they can grow up to “solve the world’s next great challenges.”||www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ReLtjvALN4|
|Lockheed Martin||“How” is a series of 30-second ads and longer videos showing how Lockheed Martin creates innovative products and services to solve problems.||“‘How’ is the word that makes all the difference.”||www.lockheedmartin.com/us/how/index.html|
|GE||The “What Works Project” produced this Super Bowl commercial that explains how GE power turbines help make cold beer.||The tagline is “GE Works,” and one of the GE employees says, “It’s nice to know what you’re building is going to do something for the world.”||www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgNStjaxOCM&feature=player_embedded|
The NAE has developed tools and resources to help spread the CTC messages. Other organizations have provided assistance as well, with the result that it is now much easier for interested parties to join in the effort to change the conversation about engineering.
The CTC Website
The development of a positioning statement, messages, and taglines was just the first step in changing the conversation about engineering. Next it was necessary to implement and disseminate them, and the first major tool created for that task was the CTC website (www.engineeringmessages.org), designed to incorporate the artwork and speech-balloon imagery from the 2008 report (Figure 2-9). The site was developed by the committee in concert with Diamax, a digital design and interactive strategy firm that has extensive experience with engineering. A beta version of the site was shared with various audiences, including the National Engineers Week Steering Committee, prior to the site’s launch in early 2011. The committee used both email and face-to-face meetings at conferences to notify stakeholders, such as engineering schools and engineering professional societies, about the site and to encourage them to link to it. NAE President Charles Vest sent a note to all NAE members informing them of the site’s launch.
The site lays out the problem and presents the solution proposed in Changing the Conversation. Under “The Problem” is information about the poor public understanding of engineering along with the reasons
FIGURE 2-9 Screenshot of CTC Homepage
for and consequences of that poor understanding. This section explains how engineers fail to present engineering in a compelling or exciting way for the public. And it notes the lack of diversity among engineers, with comments on the potential effects on the nation’s economic competitiveness.
Under “The Solution,” visitors can read the complete Changing the Conversation report online and then go to a page that provides all the recommended messages and taglines in one place. In addition, the site offers tips for effectively using the messages, with recommendations such as “Show, don’t tell” and “Use multiple media.” The site also features nearly 140 examples of engineering messaging efforts—videos, web pages, brochures, posters, and magazine covers that use the CTC messages and taglines themselves and those in the spirit of CTC.
Finally, the CTC website offers resources to help people take effective action. There are, for instance, case studies of organizations that have used the CTC messages in creative ways. Visitors to the site can describe other actions that they know about and post links to sites with more information on those actions. In addition to a CTC blog, where NAE staff provide relevant information quickly and informally, there are downloadable and customizable CTC posters, bookmarks, and door hangers. And there is a directory of individuals interested and active in changing the conversation titled Who’s Changing the Conversation? To encourage sharing via social media, nearly every page has tabs for Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
The goal is for the CTC website to become both the central meeting place for all who wish to change the public perception of engineering and a primary source of information on the best ways to achieve that transformation. By the end of 2012, the website had about 420 registered members, and over the course of the year it received nearly 50,000 visits. According to Google Analytics, since the site was launched, about 9 percent of visitors came to the site through CTC links appearing on other websites (Box 2-2).
Sample of Organizations Linking to www.engineeringmessages.org
White House (Champions of Change Blog)
Center for Engineering Education Research, Michigan State University
University of Colorado–Boulder School of Engineering
Santa Clara University School of Engineering
University of Virginia Climate Change Partnership
Purdue University School of Engineering
Pennsylvania State University Engineering Ambassadors Program
Rensselaer Engineering Ambassadors Program
American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers
American Society of Civil Engineers
American Society for Engineering Education
Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers
National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering
Tau Beta Pi (The Engineering Honor Society)
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association
United Engineering Foundation
National Defense Industrial Association
STEM Equity Pipeline
King Features (Hearst Corporation)
The Science and Entertainment Exchange
Engineer Your Life
Grand Challenges for Engineering
NOTE: Links appear on homepage or subpage. List accurate as of February 2013.
The CTC Facebook Site
Facebook has become the most important social networking site in the world. With more than 1 billion active users, it is a place not only where individuals connect and interact with other individuals but also where businesses and organizations maintain a presence in order
to increase their visibility and manage their images. IBM and Intel have Facebook pages, for example, as do GE, DuPont, Merck, and most other major corporations. IEEE and many other professional societies also maintain Facebook sites. Such a presence is increasingly important as people spend more time each day on Facebook and obtain an increasingly large amount of information from its social network. Thus it made sense for the NAE to establish a Facebook site to encourage awareness and promote discussion about Changing the Conversation. Created and supported with funding from the United Engineering Foundation (www.uefoundation.org; UEF), the site was “liked” by over 5,300 people within 11 months of its launch.
Called “Engineers Changing the Conversation,” the CTC Facebook page uses graphics similar to those of the CTC website. Visitors to the site can find information about various engineering events and watch engineering-related videos. The major component of the site, however, is the collection of postings about improved messaging and about engineering in general, often with links for visitors interested in more information.
There is, for example, a note concerning a Forbes article written by NAE member Andrew Viterbi, cofounder of Qualcomm, arguing for the importance of getting young people interested in engineering, along with a link to the article. Another post describes a teacher’s 17-page discussion guide for a class that “deliberately focuses on engineering concepts and outcomes besides math and science,” again with a link to the relevant material. A third post incorporates two CTC phrases—“changing the conversation” and “turning dreams into reality”—in reference to a Northrop Grumman program for high school students interested in engineering. Several entries describe engineers who might be inspiring to young people, such as a 22-year-old recent graduate who is interested in sustainable living and a female engineer from Queensland who talks about “making a difference in the community.” The mission of The Works, a museum in Minnesota, is to “awaken every child’s inner engineer.” Many posts are followed by comments that sometimes become a back-and-forth conversation.
Facebook offers a way to reach out to young people that was not available 10 years ago. We hope the CTC site will both support devel-
opment of a community of people who are interested in changing the conversation about engineering and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, advice, and encouragement.
E-Week Train-the-Trainer Effort
As has been clear since before the publication of Changing the Conversation, propagating a new image of engineering will require not only websites and marketing campaigns but also the work of many individual proponents who spread the message in one-on-one and group interactions. With this in mind, the National Engineers Week Foundation (NEWF), which sponsors E-Week and other activities, developed a CTC train-the-trainer program for outreach volunteers. The program, which is also supported with funds from UEF, is intended to promote implementation of the CTC messages and taglines.
First offered in 2012, the training program consisted of a PowerPoint presentation summarizing the problems that led to the CTC rebranding effort; explaining the research behind the selection of the program’s positioning statement, messages, and taglines; describing the messages and taglines; and providing tips and examples for using them. NEWF pilot tested the PowerPoint in face-to-face sessions at a coordinators’ retreat for the Future City program (www.futurecity.org), an annual engineering-focused competition for middle school students organized by NEWF, and at a Northrop Grumman Women’s conference. The training was further refined via virtual (webinar-based) sessions conducted for members of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the NEWF’s steering committee and diversity council, “fans” of the NAE Facebook page, and the NAE membership. The final PowerPoint presentation and links to the digital files from the webinars were then posted on the CTC website.
Ideas from the training were incorporated in a two-page CTC messaging “tip sheet” included in packets mailed to all entrants in the 2013 Future City competition. The tip sheet is also available on the CTC website.
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