Campaign recruits engineers

James Green

The #WhyEngineering campaign has looked to increase engineering retention through “survival guide” pamphlets and tutoring, among other things.

#WhyEngineering is an advertising campaign imagined by students working under Amanda Carrier, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology marketing specialist. Developed over the summer, the campaign was formed in a response to the “science, technology, engineering and math crisis.” The crisis refers to fears America will fall behind other nations in those fields of study.

#WhyEngineering has focused on retention this semester. The campaign is also keeping engineering students inspired by showcasing the accomplishments of their peers. One example is the featuring of the baja car, supermileage car and formula car at upcoming football home games. The cars were built and designed by student teams at NIU. Carrier hopes showing how creatively students can apply their knowledge in a hands-on setting will encourage them to push on through their studies.

“It’s a hard major but a fruitful one,” Carrier said. “It really comes down to what our students are creating. They’re ready to hit the ground running and be passionate.”

Engineering students became involved in the program through an online pledge-making processes where they made promises to remain dedicated to education.

“It’s exciting to see so much positivity,” said CEET student Nora Guzman. “It really gives the feeling of a unified community.”

Carrier and the #WhyEngineering team plan to build on that idea by connecting with alumni and future students, which has already begun to happen. Carrier said she’s being contacted ahead of schedule by graduates who want to get involved in the program.

“We want to graduate more engineers, but we also really want to cultivate this sense of a growing community of engineering, especially with alumni mentoring our current students,” Carrier said.

Events for high schoolers are already happening, but the pace has picked up heavily since the campaign started, Carrier said. The campaign is going to branch out further in 2014, said MJ Meisenheimer, a #WhyEngineering public relations intern.

“We’re making posters and rolling out to high schools and middles schools and getting kids interested,” Meisenheimer said. “We’re showing them how cool it is.”