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Posted July 23, 2021

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Engineers of Tomorrow is a not-for-profit that is shaping the engineering narrative by telling better stories. 

How to talk to kids about engineering: beyond bridge building

Too often we hear about the “WHAT” of engineering.

…what do engineers do
…what is engineering?
…what is the engineering design process
…what kinds of engineering are there

The “WHY” gets left out of the conversation.

But here’s the thing….the “WHY” is equally important.

It’s the motivation, the spark, the inspiration.

Why do engineers do what they do?

Why do they spend so many hours studying?

Why do they work so hard?

And the answer is different for everyone.



Image above: A local EIR introduces students to climate change issues in the context of their technology solutions aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

When you start to message engineering with the “WHY”, instead of the “WHAT” more people will listen!

Engineering, and the engineering profession, suddenly becomes more human-centered. Something that has purpose and meaning.

Consider this…

WHAT-focused messaging WHY-focused messaging
Civil engineers build bridges

Civil engineers help communities, keeping people safe and happy by designing the infrastructure to support local needs.

Chemical engineers design water treatment processes

Chemical engineers take care of people by making sure their water is clean, safe and accessible.

Mechanical engineers design and build cars

Mechanical engineers help get us around and travel from place to place safely & efficiently.

Electrical engineers work with computers

Electrical engineers help connect people and enable us to communicate with our loved ones.


See the difference there?

It’s not that the “WHAT” & “HOW” of engineering isn’t true….it’s just not the whole story! It’s like watching a movie without any character development. We’ve all seen the movie Apollo 13 right? Arguably one of the best science fiction movies of all time! And you cannot mention Apollo 13 without the “square peg – round hole” scene…amiright?!? Some engineering at it’s best right there! But…would that scene have had the same impact if you didn’t know the back story? If you didn’t know that those engineers were solving a problem to save the lives of the three astronauts struggling to make it back to earth? Probably not!

Engineers have a story to tell.

Every. Single. One of you!


Next time someone asks you WHAT you do? Try starting with the “WHY”.

Not sure where or how to start? We can help! We’ve taught hundreds of engineering how to tell their engineering story. In fact, we just did it again this week for our newest cohort of volunteers!

To learn more about Engineers of Tomorrow (and WHY we do what we do!) visit engineersoftomorrow.ca


To learn more about the Engineers of Tomorrow

(and WHY we do what we do!) visit engineersoftomorrow.ca



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