Attracting Future Engineers
The demand for engineers is rising. Yet we are faced with discouraging statistics on the number of students considering engineering careers, and disappointing math and science scores that place U.S. students’ performance below many industrialized nations. America is simply not going to have the engineers it needs to stay competitive and remain a world a leader in innovation without more investment. Our professions must be able to reach out to our young students to excite, attract and interest them in careers in engineering and related fields.
Supporting Students Today
We can do this by lending support to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs that inspire future generations of engineers. Within SAME, our Posts have had many successful K-12 programs and Engineer Week activities. Our focus on STEM will pull it all together and expand our successes in more and different ways including school visits, STEM-related programs, science fairs, inspirational mentoring, and more.
SAME Posts are actively engaged in STEM-related activities -- from the West Point Bridge Design Contest to The Boy Scouts Merit Badge Program that offers merit badges related to architecture, engineering, science and math, to local science fairs and more. Contact your local SAME Post for details on what Post Members are doing in your local area.
SAME Engineering and Construction Camps
SAME's strength is its focus on the military engineering element. As such, SAME provides a vibrant program through the SAME Engineering and Construction Camps. These high energy, hands-on, week-long camps for high school students are led by a professional staff of engineers from both private industry and the military services. Previous camps have included:
In addition, SAME Posts have myriad scholarships in place to mentor students in support of STEM. Scholarship include opportunities to attend an SAME camp, college, or other assistance. For information, review the Post Scholarship Programs page, then contact an SAME Post in your area for details.
National and Regional Competitions & Events
Aspirations in Computing, sponsored by the The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), is the only nationwide recognition for young women in computing and information technology. NCWIT is a coalition of more than 300 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in technology and computing.
Broadcom MASTERS® (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering as Rising Stars), is a program of Society for Science & the Public, and is the premier U.S. and international middle school science and engineering fair competition. It provides an annual forum to spotlight the achievements of middle school students, their school and teachers, and offers a $25,000 top award.
Christopher Columbus Awards is a national, community-based science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for middle school students. The program challenges the students to work in teams of three to four, with an adult coach, to identify a problem in their community and apply the scientific method to create an innovative solution to that problem. The program is sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation.
Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Challenge celebrates the life and entrepreneurial spirit of astronaut Pete Conrad, third man to walk on the Moon. 13 - 18 year old students from around the world use STEM skills to develop business and technical plans for innovative products and services in one of four categories: Aerospace and Aviation, Cybertechnology and Security, Energy and Environment, and Health and Nutrition.
Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for students in grades 5-8. To help cultivate the nation’s next generation of great thinkers and innovators and keep them interested in STEM-related issues, Discovery Education and 3M have teamed up to reward students for their science acumen and curiosity, while encouraging them to share that passion by creatively communicating their findings through this national competition. Ten national finalists participate in an exclusive summer mentorship with 3M scientists, and compete for $25,000 and the title, America's Top Young Scientist. For more information please visit
DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition is North America’s premier science writing competition for students grades 7 – 12. Students are asked to think critically about some of the world’s greatest challenges and how they can be overcome through innovations in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). The DuPont Challenge was created to honor the memory of the seven heroes of the 1986 Challenger Space Shuttle and all who work to encourage the next generation to explore the frontiers of science.
eCYBERMISSION is a web-based, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition free for students in grades 6-9 that challenges students to think about real-world applications of STEM by working in teams to identify a problem in their community and using the scientific method, scientific inquiry, or engineering design process to find a solution. eCYBERMISSION is one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP). The U.S. Army is committed to answering the nation's need for increased national STEM literacy and expanding STEM education opportunities across the country to open doors to new career paths for America’s students that lead to a brighter tomorrow.
FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics competition run by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). It challenges teams of 25 students (grades 9-12) or more to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program a robot to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors.
Junior FIRST® LEGO® League, (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) has Teams (grades 4-8), build LEGO-based robots and develop research projects to develop valuable life skills and discover exciting career possibilities while learning that they can make a positive contribution to society. For children ages 6-9, Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) captures young children's curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. This program features a real-world scientific concept to be explored through research, teamwork, construction, and imagination. Guided by adult Coaches, teams use LEGO® bricks to build a model that moves and develop a Show Me Poster to illustrate their journey.
FFA Agriscience Fair is a competition for FFA members who are interested in the science and technology of agriculture. It is held each year during the National FFA Convention. The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 579,678 student members as part of 7,570 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA Mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education
Future City Competition is a national, project-based learning experience where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade imagine, design, and build cities of the future. Students work as a team with an educator and engineer mentor to plan cities using SimCity™ software; research and write solutions to an engineering problem; build tabletop scale models with recycled materials; and present their ideas before judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the National Finals in Washington, DC in February.
Google Science Fair is an online science competition seeking curious minds between 13 and 18 years of age from the four corners of the globe. In the first year, over 10,000 students from over 91 countries participated, with three exceptional young women from the United States winning.
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the world's largest international pre-college science competition, provides an annual forum for approximately 1,700 high school students from more than 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research as they compete for more than $5 million annually. The Intel ISEF is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12.
Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is the nation’s most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors, and provides more than $1.2 million in awards each year. Seven decades since its launch, the program has recognized almost 3,000 finalists with more than $12 million in scholarships. Alumni include holders of more than 100 of the world's most coveted science and math honors. These include four National Medals of Science winners, eleven MacArthur Foundation Fellows, two Fields Medalists and eight Nobel Laureates.
Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force and administered through the Academy of Applied Sciences, the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium is a program that encourages students (grades 9-12) to do original research in STEM disciplines by competing for scholarships and recognition.
Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam™ initiative inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention. InvenTeams are granted up to $10,000 each to conceptualize, design and build technological solutions to real-world problems. Working prototypes of the solutions are showcased at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology each June at the Lemelson-MIT Program’s EurekaFest event. The Natick High School InvenTeam and the Newton North High School InvenTeam have produced exemplary projects with sustaining efforts in their schools that will inspire many more youth to be inventive in years to come.
MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is a national coaching, enrichment and competition program that challenges students with a talent and passion for math in multiple levels of competition. The 2013 Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition brought together the nation’s top 224 young mathematicians, who represented all 50 states and U.S. territories and schools worldwide through the U.S. Department of Defense and State Department.
DOE’s National Science Bowl is a nationwide academic competition that tests students' knowledge in all areas of science. Competing teams of diverse backgrounds are quizzed on scientific topics in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, earth science, general science, and mathematics using a question-and-answer format similar to “Jeopardy.”
National STEM Video Game Challenge is a multi-year competition designed to create interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.
National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge is a business plan competition that helps young people unlock their potential for entrepreneurial activity. Since 1987, NFTE has reached more than 350,000 students and runs programs in 21 states.
Real World Design Challenge is an annual competition that provides high school students, grades 9-12, the opportunity to work on real world engineering challenges in a team environment. Each year, student teams are asked to address a challenge that confronts our nation's leading industries. Students utilize professional engineering software to develop their solutions and generate presentations that convincingly demonstrate the value of their solutions.
Rocket21 is a Youth Innovation Platform that safely connects middle and high school students with opportunities, projects, events and innovation competitions involving world-class experts from the world's leading institutions and corporations. Rocket21's "Dream Green National Innovation Competition" invited youth to share their ideas for how to save the planet by reducing air pollution, keeping drinking water clean, making our oceans pure, conserving energy, or other high-impact solutions. The competition was presented in partnership with Captain Planet Foundation, an organization focused on empowering and inspiring the next generation of eco-visionaries and environmental stewards.
Robots.net includes a calendar of Robotics Competitions nationwide, in addition to the events noted below:
Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is a $2 million grant program that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among public school students in grades 6-12 where they are challenged to show how they can use STEM to address an issue in their community.
Science Olympiad encourages teams of students in grades 6-12 to develop their interest in science and technology through competing in 23 events in the areas of chemistry, earth science, physics and technology.
Science of Sports is an activity coordinated by Raytheon Company and the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation -- teamed up with Boys & Girls Clubs in New England. Each year, approximately 80 Raytheon volunteers mentor more than 150 students over 5 months to design and implement projects that explore the math and science embedded in competitive sports. The program culminates in the Science of Sports Science Fair at Gillette Stadium, where the 30 teams present their projects to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Raytheon Chairman William H. Swanson, who award scholarships to the winning teams.
Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is the premier national sustainability challenge, empowering students in grades K-12 to develop and share environmental solutions that change the world. The Challenge is sponsored by the Siemens Foundation and is administered by Discovery Education to educate, empower and engage elementary, middle and high school students and teachers to become “Agents of Change” in improving their schools, communities and world. To date, over 4.6M students have engaged with the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, increasing their STEM knowledge and creatively engaging their communities to find solutions to a local environmental issue or global energy challenge.
Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology is a premier science research competition for high school students. Administered by the College Board, the Competition is a program of the Siemens Foundation and was launched in 1998.
Team America Rocketry Challenge is the world’s largest student rocket contest and the aerospace and defense industry’s flagship program designed to encourage students to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and more than 20 industry partners, TARC provides middle and high school students the opportunity to design, build and launch model rockets in a competition among more than 5,000 students nationwide. The 2014 challenge tasked students with designing and building a rocket that could fly to 825 feet and back within 48 to 50 seconds while carrying precious cargo — two raw eggs that must return to the ground undamaged with the assistance of two parachutes.
Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program has involved more than 287,000 students from across the United States and Canada. The competition encourages K-12 students to simulate real research and development as they study a technology of interest and predict and model what the technology might be like 20 years from now.
Verizon Innovative App Challenge provides the opportunity for middle school and high school students, working with a faculty advisor, to apply their STEM knowledge, ingenuity, and creativity to develop an original mobile app concept that incorporates STEM and addresses a need or problem in their school or community. The goal of the Challenge is to increase student interest and knowledge in STEM subjects and mobile technology through an engaging and empowering learning experience.
West Point Bridge Design Contest. Designed to interest students in engineering and construction by challenging them to design a virtual bridge. A sample PowerPoint will help you get your students/school started. Project and information. [PDF]
Zero Robotics is a free robotics programming competition (grades 9-12) where the robots are SPHERES satellites inside the International Space Station (ISS). The competition starts online, on the Zero Robotics website, where teams compete to solve an annual challenge guided by mentors. Participants can create, edit, share, save, simulate and submit code, all from a web browser. After several phases of virtual competition, finalists are selected to compete in a live championship aboard the ISS. An astronaut conducts the championship competition in microgravity with a live broadcast!
Learn more about other organizations that support STEM.
Looking for some visual prompts to show the excitement and opportunities for Engineers and other STEM areas of study? Check out the videos listed below.
There also are a host of websites that provide valuable STEM information and activities. Try some of these:
For journals or publications, check out:
Finally, click here for a list of affordable colleges by state.