Grad Lesson #14 – Passing on Knowledge to the “Next Generation”

I went home for Easter Weekend these past few days.  Probably not the best idea due to the amount of work I had to do; nevertheless, I had a great time and happened to get work done sporadically.

Spending a lot of time in traffic and on the road lately

Anyways, I was doing dynamics homework in Keith’s kitchen when his 9 yr old twin cousins came over and started to invade my space.  Background–I’m great with kids when I’m paid (day camp counselor for 3 yrs, holla), but in all other walks of life, it’s frankly something I need to work on.  Being curious and seeing that I had an awesome shiny laptop they slowly started to cautiously approach me to find out who I was and what I was doing typing away on the sweet toy.  Realizing that I’m an impressionable young adult, I figured this would be a great female engineering mentoring moment.

This turned out a bit more difficult than originally idealized.

Upon looking at my confusing coding sequence the twins asked what I was doing.  Instead of diving right into the theory of dynamics I attempted to explain that buildings are like sticks tied together, and when pushed with too much force they fall down.  This appeared to get the point across–especially after I showed that if I pushed on the kitchen island it would not move; whereas if a bulldozer came and pushed it, the island would be destroyed (kids apparently like to imagine things getting destroyed).  Moving onto skyscrappers got interesting:

Twin – what are you studying

Me – “Structural Engineering”

Twin – (pause of confusion)

Me – “Okay, so I’m studying to design and build buildings, like giant skyscrapers”

Twin – “what’s a skyscraper?”

Me – (Trying to remember what age I was when I learned the vocabulary word – Skyscraper) “Okay, well, when you go into Boston and see all those tall buildings? Those are skyscrappers”

Twin – “So they touch the sky!!!???”

Me – “Uh, no, but they look like they do, I guess that’s the point”

Conversation continues with me googling cityscapes to further explain my point

I attempted to do my duty as a knowledgeable female engineer and share my love with the next generation.  It seemed to work for as long as their attention span held.  However, eventually they seemed to get scared off and realized that riding bikes is a bit more interesting than interrupting Jen when she’s trying to do homework.  I guess I’ll just have to leave the “passing on engineering knowledge to the next generation” up to Engineering Barbie.


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