Published in Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, June 1, 2005, pages 1-8. Copyright © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Russell M. Cummings was on sabbatical leave from Cal Poly.
While many engineers in the aerospace engineering profession know that interacting with students is a good idea, few of them know how to do it. Certainly some engineers are asked on occasion to give lectures at various university club meetings, and some are even heavily involved in interacting with students working on various design projects, but the average engineer has little or no interaction with students over the course of their career. A number of companies, including Boeing, have created technical interest groups to encourage mentoring and sharing of corporate knowledge throughout the company. These efforts have been met with varying degrees of success. In an effort to improve this situation, the Boeing Technology Interest Group concept has been modified and expanded to include students within the groups. Concepts for including students (both graduate and undergraduate) and faculty are discussed, including details about how the concept could be integrated into existing research and educational programs. Conclusions are drawn about the feasibility of the concept and suggestions for implementation are made.