I learned about the intersection of entrepreneurship and engineering and how having an entrepreneurial mindset can lead to a more successful engineering project.
Can you share a description of the experience? I had the opportunity to attend the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP) Annual Meeting in November, 2019 in Washington, D.C. At this event, I heard speeches from members of the NAE and other engineers who have worked alongside GCSP students. They all spoke about the importance of solving the Grand Challenges, as well as the mindset it takes to be an engineer. I also attended a breakout session called "Applying an Entrepreneurial Mindset to the Grand Challenges Scholars Program." I learned about the intersection of entrepreneurship and engineering and how having an entrepreneurial mindset can lead to a more successful engineering project.
What was the most impactful part of the experience? The most impactful part of this experience was the breakout session I attended. I have always been interested in both entrepreneurship and engineering, and this session helped me find a concrete connection between my interests. It taught me that for an engineering project to be successful, you have to treat it like a business! You have to keep customers, stakeholders, resources, and creativity in mind.
What surprised you? It surprised me how far some students came to attend this conference! It reminded me how lucky we are to be so close to D.C.
Did you make any personal connections with your peers, industry professionals, faculty or staff? My favorite part of this experience was meeting students from all over the country and from other countries too! While I was at the breakout session, we were talking about our service learning projects. Some students from Florida are working on a project similar to ours, so we exchanged contact information and are keeping in touch about our projects.
What were your major takeaways? What did you learn? My major takeaways were the importance of engineers in the future of humanity and the NAE's focus on the Grand Challenges. Engineers have the ability to create a better society and a better planet for future. The NAE is invested in providing our generation with the education necessary to do so.
Have your career or academic goals changed as a result of this experience? I think that this experience reinforced my desire to work on renewable energy generation because this would help solve the Grand Challenges!