This week the Tomorrow’s Engineers initiative hopes to inform and inspire young people to consider engineering as a career. As engineers, we can become very focused on details and this affects our ability to communicate about engineering to the outside world. This year, we ran a workshop with our students to develop new communication skills. This was a poetry slam event facilitated by local performance poet, Tony Walsh. The idea behind a poetry slam is that teams compete to write and perform poems in a fun workshop environment. The theme of our workshop was ‘Engineering our Future’ – how can we as engineers contribute to the world in the future?
So, on a wet Wednesday afternoon, a small but enthusiastic group of students arrived to our first poetry slam. Tony set the scene by introducing some of the notable achievements of University of Manchester scientists and engineers. Then he read some poems about the impact of engineering on the world around us. After some warm up ‘tongue twisters’ students worked in teams writing about their route into engineering and what they hoped to contribute through their work. I was amazed at how dedicated and hardworking the students were in the session. This was really a tribute to Tony’s ability to engage and motivate the students, for many of them English was a second language. The short poems that the students came up with showed how far they had come and their hopes and dreams for the future. It was inspiring to realise that students had come from all over the world and made us realise what a great opportunity we have to learn and work together at this University.
Students commented that they had surprised themselves by writing poems about engineering. It gave them confidence about their writing ability and they enjoyed the variety from their usual work. One of my students, Hamna, blogged about the event. Afterwards, we worked together with the EPS elearning team to produce this short video. We hope it helps to inspire tomorrow’s engineers. Thanks to Tony for helping us to get our ideas across and to focus on the ‘big picture’. There are lots of opportunities for young people in engineering, together we are engineering our future.
Watch the video about the Engineering our Future event here.
The winning poem was written by ‘Team Force’ with their thoughts on the motivation behind an engineering career and their journeys in engineering.
I used to play with Lego blocks,
The first stage of my career.
They said I have imagination!
Brunel, Smeaton, Tesla, they all rock!
I wanted to be an inspiration.
Let’s solve and build,
Let’s bring some help.
It’s not only calculations!
It’s a dream,
It is sheer determination.