Engineering is Not Just About Engineering

By Mohamed A.

During the stages of the course, I have learned how to embrace the concept of philanthropy while continue to remain relevant to the globally interconnected engineering landscape. I genuinely witnessed how “waste” signifies a growing need for a refocus of engineering on the sustainability side, instead of on supplying more irresponsible advanced products and technologies. This made me question myself how engineers can make the world a better place, because at the end of the day, the impact that we shine depends not just on the solution to a particular problem but on the way in which it is conducted. As the concerns related to the unintended consequences are becoming of a great contemporary relevance, the diverse lectures throughout the course provided me with an invaluable opportunity to get a practical understanding of professional and ethical responsibility and knowledge of contemporary issues.

Moreover, being part of a team was a great chance to learn together how to design a process to meet desired needs and to minimize the harm with realistic constraints such as economic, social and environmental. Through the project, we have developed a critical analysis of issues at the intersection of engineering, philanthropy and social change. We learned that by addressing all the aforementioned concerns, we, as the engineers of the future, will be able to create a general framework that could harmoniously go along the engineering evolution.

As I reflect upon the lecturers I have met, the enthusiastic fellows I worked with, and the knowledge I earned, I truly believe I gained an understanding to inculcate an appreciation of the social change that engineering creates. This class was the only introspective engineering class I have taken in the whole curriculum. This is an entirely different perspective that I have never experienced before. I particularly enjoyed the discussions about the different approaches to solving the problems at hand. I have witnessed the amount of research, careful consideration, and abundance of effort that fuel the grant-making process. Not only did I learn about nonprofits and their connections, but I also rediscovered myself and my passion. Indeed, I have seen in reality how engineering design, products and processes can impact social change. I was fortunate to have been a part of the Neilom Foundation’s grant-making process and that I contributed to help impact a community in a valuable way. Not every engineer would have the same honor. I have realized that philanthropy is just as essential to social change as hands-on service and engineering design, and this eventually inspires me to continue to do the same in the future.

This course laid the foundation for the social engineering brick on my career, allowing me to take into account all the components of a contemporary engineering problem. I feel very lucky to have been able to participate in such an innovative class. As an ambitious and enlightened engineer, I envision to continue dedicate my efforts to make an immediate and valuable contribution to the interplay between engineering social change.

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