Distinguishing Engineers of the Future: Comparisons with EWB-USA MembersIn order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which require access to clean water andsanitation, UNESCO estimates that 2.5 million new engineers and technicians are needed in sub-SaharanAfrica alone1. Fortunately, engineers are responding to such needs through larger participation inengineering development organizations and curricula. Among these programs, Engineers WithoutBorders-USA (EWB-USA) stands out as one of the largest and most senior of engineering fordevelopment programs in the US, making it an important group to study in order to gain insight intosuch engineers. This NSF-REE funded research aims to understand differences between engineersinvolved and not involved with the organization to help educators and employers better understandengineers of the future.Extensive qualitative data collection led to the creation of a survey to test pre-educational traits,educational gains, and career expectations between engineers involved and not involved with EWB-USAto help answer the question, are EWB-USA engineers unique from engineers not involved with theorganization?. This paper will discuss the results of the pilot survey that has been administered to 5,000engineering students at a research university in the US with a large EWB-USA population. Statisticaltests will be run to determine significant differences between the two groups around survey themesincluding motivations for engineering, personality, community service attitudes, ABET outcomes,engineering identity, expected outcomes, and intended persistence. Discussion will be based aroundrecommended changes to the final survey to be administered to EWB-USA, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, and SWEin 2014. Understanding similarities and differences between these populations of engineers will helpinform how to recruit, create, and retain engineers to work toward the MDGs and other majorchallenges that engineers of the future can address.1 UNESCO, Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development (France: UNESCO, 2010).
Litchfield, K., Javernick-Will, A., Knight, D., and Leslie, C. (2014). "Distinguishing Engineers of the Future: Comparisons with EWB-USA Members." American Society of Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Indianapolis, IN.