Engineers’ Week is past. As a past president PSPE Philadelphia I had the honor of chairing our chapter banquet but was able to pass the mic MC duties our state president Susan Sprague, keynote by NSPE president elect Harve Hnatiuk, Outstanding Engineering Achievements to Urban and Pennoni engineering firms, and mention of MathCounts winners.   

Mardi Gras is also past. My wife is from New Orleans; we go each year to visit family and enjoy the festivities. So what do these two events have in common? At Mardi Gras Muses’ parade we met Wayne Fernandez, Director of Development of the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts. The foundation provides grants and loans of artwork to support teaching of art in our schools, both in Louisiana and many other states. See for more details.

As Wayne explained, art is as important to growing our future engineers as is math and science. A technician or AI system may be able to do calculations; it takes an engineer to have the creativity to use existing tools to create new and better designs. And so Wayne’s program pushes not just STEM but STEAM for Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math support for our impressionable primary school students.

Our local PSPE chapter has been doing the same over the past few years with programs such as a chapter meeting at the
Barnes museum and banquet keynote by their director, Derek Gillman. See for our full program. The point is that we engineers need to not only promote support for more teachers of math and science, but also for programs to encourage grade school (and through high school and beyond) students in the arts.