By Benjamin Roode
My dad you used joke that, when he grew up, he wanted to be a cowboy.
It was a joke because he’d tell young children this while he was performing his duties as chief of police in our home town. To the kids, dad was the obvious grown up in the room.
It’s not so much of a stretch, though. Dad grew up in the 1960s, when cowboys, astronauts, and any other of the traditional dream jobs were featured heavily on television.
Note: There were not, and are not now, many engineers in those career outlook-shaping shows.
Some groups, however, are trying to change that. TheScience and Entertainment Exchange, affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences, is trying to get more accurate science and engineering information and portrayals in popular culture.
But is that the best way to improve recruitment and retention for engineering? There are possibilities for blowback, some communications experts say.
We look at it all in this month’sPEmagazine cover story:Screen Play. We also want you to weigh in. Send an e-mail with your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published August 26, 2011 by NSPE
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of and should not be attributable to the National Society of Professional Engineers.