According to the National Science Foundation, the United States faces a daunting challenge: College-bound students' interest in engineering majors are decreasing and statistics show an even greater decline in interest among minority and female students.
Design Squad aims to help address this situation and attract a larger, more-diverse talent pool of future engineers who can create future technological innovations and help the United States remain competitive in the global marketplace. Its holistic, systems-based approach involves partnering with engineering societies, industry, universities, middle- and high-school teachers to produce not just the TV series, but also a web site, after-school program and public events across the country to demonstrate just how creative and exciting the engineering profession can be, and also to provide a model for teamwork.
Major funding for Design Squad comes from the National Science Foundation and the Intel Foundation. The project is also supported by Tyco Electronics, The Harold and Esther Edgerton Family Foundation, Noyce Foundation, Intel Corporation, IEEE, ASCE and the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 7, 2008 (download PDF).