Monday, November 8, 2010

Career Day Reveals Surprising Teen Perspectives on Science

Canadian teens do not think of science as 'cool'. According to Angus Reid Vision Critical survey, only one in three Canadian teens aged 16 - 18 is interested in taking a science course at the post-secondary level. Although teens perceive people working in science-related professions as intelligent and serious, only 4% would describe them as 'cool'.

To change this impression and show kids the exciting side of science - and engineering - we work closely with Let's Talk Science, the Canadian charitable organization focused on bringing science programs to schools.

On Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010, my colleague Patrick and I attended the Annual Career Day in St. Augustine Catholic High School to help grade 10 students find the right path for them early in their high school studies. We talked about what engineers do and how their work impacts products people use: from food and clothes to iPods and phones. As an example of an engineering project, we demonstrated Quanser's Rotary Inverted Pendulum and explained real-life applications of the experiment. What was the most fascinating part? Students' reaction and expression when the pendulum balanced itself! :-)

Students asked about their course selections and their career goals. Interestingly enough, there was a noticeable number of high school students looking to pursue an engineering education... So maybe they will see our Inverted Pendulum again, in the engineering lab at their college or university.

Patrick Barnard, R&D Engineer at Quanser captivates a group of high school students as he demonstrates the principles of the Rotary Inverted Pendulum.

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