By Kevin L.
Engineering for Social Change has been unlike any engineering course that I have ever taken in my years at the University of Maryland, and I mean that in the most positive sense possible. Over the years, I have grown accustom to performing calculations to find velocities, heat transfer rates, or other numerical solutions. Engineering for Social Change took a different approach to engineering where we discussed and analyzed our responsibility as engineers which is why I believe every senior mechanical engineer should take it. This class has taught me about social impact and how an engineer holds significant power to make social change in today’s world.
As opposed to past courses, this course has showed me the importance of becoming an ethical engineer. The decisions that we make can have a direct impact on solving many issues going on in the world. Through the various guest speakers that came in to speak with the class, it was great to see and hear about all the things that we can do as mechanical engineers. It was interesting to really think about how today’s evolving technology is going to play a substantial role in our daily lives. Before taking this course, I was solely focused on simply graduating and finding a good paying job. Though I did accomplish that, the course has made me want to leave more of an impact through what I do because I now realize that I have that unique opportunity to as a mechanical engineer. After graduation, I will be working in an industry job that may not give me a wide range of opportunity to make a social impact, so I would like to do more in terms of philanthropy.
Through my ISCC project and my experiences with the nonprofit organizations, I realize that there is a lot of areas where an engineer can help. My ISCC project concerns providing potable water to a select region in Ethiopia. There is so much that needs to be done here, but many other people do not have the education and knowledge to implement sustainable solutions. Previously, I have taken my knowledge for granted, but I now understand that I can help make a significant difference in people’s lives. In terms of the nonprofit organizations, there are so many nonprofits out there that need help from engineers like myself. Although we are only picking one of them for the $10,000 grant, many of them are doing great things that I can see myself being a part of. Overall, I am very happy with my decision to enroll in Engineering for Social Change because it opened my eyes to the potential impact that an ethical engineer can have in society and the responsibilities that engineers have. It has been a great change-of-pace in comparison to previous engineering classes that I have taken, and I strongly recommend all senior mechanical engineers to take this course before they graduate.