Engineers help build communities and connect people.
So, it’s not surprising that community support and connection motivates many of our engineer volunteers.
Volunteering is about more than helping people.
It’s about connecting too.
…students connect to a brighter future
…engineers connect to the engineering community
…connecting the STEM curriculum to real life!
This week we’re featuring one of our long-time Engineer-in-Residence program volunteer, Dave Steeves.
Dave has been doing this for students in the Toronto District School Board for years!
He wants to give back to his community through volunteering. He is inspiring students – helping them see their strengths and connect to their passions.
Read on to learn more about Dave’s story….
Why did you become an engineer?
I enjoyed science and math in high school as well as the opportunity to “design and build” and see the results (whether it was physical designs or computer coding in Fortran). I was also very curious, constantly asking about what made “things” tick.
So, the elements were there but to be honest, I didn’t realize what this meant for a future career until a high school campus visit in grade 11 to the University of Waterloo computer building. There I saw one of the largest computer mainframes in North America with it’s blinking lights and spinning tape reels – I was hypnotized by it! So, I turned to my math teacher who was our escort and asked him “what would I need to become to build one of those?” – he replied, “you need to become an electrical engineer”. That was the moment! …my career path was set for engineering and never regretted the decision. Engineering education and career provided me a professional toolkit but also gave me problem solving skills which allowed flexibility in various roles, including management.
Why do you volunteer?
During my youth, I was guided by volunteer mentors and role models from various organizations, who assisted in “shaping” my views and values as well as helping to feed that curiosity. When I decided to retire from the workforce, I knew I wanted to start a second career in community volunteering, to offer the same support to youth as I received…to bring out the best in their abilities.
What do you think is unique about the EIR program?
As part of “Engineer-in-Residence” program, I work in collaboration with elementary and secondary educators at inner-city schools to volunteer teach STEM concepts as well as demonstrate the real-world applications of the taught classroom curriculum, with particular focus on current events that bring math and science ALIVE!. This has included helping students with presentations (eg.. Invention Convention) to hands-on experiments and construction activities (eg. FLL Robotics). Key to the role is in answering student questions about science and engineering, offering career insights, as well as providing students appropriate mentorship.
What impact do you feel you are having as an EIR volunteer?
As an EIR, I put a “seasoned” face to the engineering profession, sharing experiences (and the fun) that students appear to enjoy and remember years on, with many checking in from their STEM studies and careers to let me know how they are doing. Indirectly, I’m also “educating the educators” on our profession (remembering my math teacher who unknowingly helped set my career path because he knew about the profession). All in all, this hopefully assists in building a more confident and prepared future workforce in the world of STEM.
You are truly an example of the value of one, and the power of many!
Visit EIR.ca to join our team of volunteers!