Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013 - (Page 14)
engineering for today
by Tina Dawson, Disney Youth Education Series
ngineering is a driver of innovation, social
and economic development.
social and environmental impacts on a local
and global scale.
The word “engineer” has its roots in the
Latin word “ingeniare,” meaning “to design
or devise.” Engineering is one of the oldest
professions. It’s an extremely broad discipline
and encompasses many fields. The largest
areas today are Chemical, Civil, Electrical,
Industrial and Mechanical. These are the
fundamental disciplines from which more
specialized fields spring.
Engineers impact almost every aspect of our
lives. We rely on them to provide solutions
that meet the demands of our ever-growing
world population. Although there is a growing
global need for multi-talented engineers,
the interest in pursuing this field of study is
waning. Those who take up the challenge
of making a difference in our world through
engineering will discover rewards and
opportunities unlike many other fields of
study, with job satisfaction being at the top of
the rewards list.
Engineers address real world problems.
Take a moment and look around our world
— the bridges we travel across, the systems
for mass transit, the cars we drive, the
medical equipment doctors use, theme park
attractions, launching a space shuttle, the
processes for cleaning up toxic spills, etc. Each
is a result of the scientific and mechanical
world of engineering.
In simple terms, engineers are problem solvers.
They fix things that are broken, improve things
that are working, and design new inventions
using innovation, calculated risk taking and
creativity to produce a successful outcome.
The first step in the problem solving process
for engineers is a thorough understanding
of the assignment that is derived from basic
questions such as: What is the scope? What is
the budget? What are the parameters? What
is the timeline? What has been done before?
Once these questions have been answered
it’s time for some good old-fashioned
brainstorming! Brainstorming helps pinpoint
which ideas are plausible solutions. In this
phase engineers adhere to a philosophy called
“optimization in problem solving,” which
requires them to seek the best possible solutions
given all relevant restraints. In many cases, time
and budget will determine what ideas move
forward in the problem solving process.
Engineers are problem solvers who have an
almost insatiable curiosity about how things
work, and then they want to figure out how to
improve it. This type of thinking has resulted in
advanced cleaning systems, rollercoasters that
rocket at speeds once thought unobtainable,
more fuel efficient cars, performance
enhancing sneakers, lightweight bicycles,
sports equipment and more!
Unlike their early predecessors who were
mainly concerned with roads, bridges and
fortifications, today’s engineers are faced
with challenges that require more engineering
innovations than ever. Innovations that must
now broaden in scope to take into account
N extra credit
Do you see engineering traits in your students?
If so, encourage them to explore, research
and reach out to discover what a career in
engineering has to offer.
Essential Traits of Engineers:
• Possesses a thirst for knowledge. Able
to apply lessons from the past with
the knowledge of today to develop
• Demonstrates strong analytical
skills. Sees projects from multiple
• Is able to work within a team setting.
Engineers work in teams consisting of
multiple engineering disciplines.
• Displays excellent communication
skills. Able to modify/adapt technical
language to meet the needs of the
• Demonstrates technical and
mathematical skills. Engineering
involves precise calculations and
knowledge of how varieties of systems
operate and integrate with one another.
Disney Youth Education Series
offers a variety of programs that
allow your students to get handson experiences in the applied
sciences. For more information visit
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013
Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013
Walt Disney, Educator
A Touching Reunion
Engineering for Today
Research and Storytelling
Disney Dreamers Academy
The Path to Newsies
Creativity in the Classroom
Educational Field Trips
Inspiring Through Theatre
Festival Disney Turns 10
New Learning Opportunities
The Visual Musicians
Beyond the Bright Lights
Music Education Excellence
Focus on the Future
Spotlight On: The Disney Honors
Disney Performing Arts Alumni
Mickey’s Education Adventure
Disney Performing Arts Opportunities
Disney Youth Education Series Opportunities
Students Get the “Scoop”
The Fundamentals of Finance
Advertisers and Thank You
Travel Planner Honors
Mickey’s Mind Teasers
Disney Extra Credit - Fall 2013