With the technological demands of the 21st century, the availability of certified engineers is crucial in working to develop a robust economy. Unfortunately, while there are people who aspire to become engineers, there are not enough of them to sustain what is needed to promote growth.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the United States will become dependent on hiring foreign workers to fill future jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math. As a superintendent of schools, I find this news to be staggering—we must make a point to educate students who may be interested in this field.
"While our universities are producing more STEM graduates, many of these students are foreigners on temporary visas," said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. "Despite significant public and private investment, we are still not developing an American STEM workforce to fill the jobs of the future. It's clear that we need to focus our efforts on getting more kids, particularly women and African-Americans, interested in pursuing STEM at a young age."
The Wylie Independent School District is working to do our part to close this gap. And, Wylie East High School engineering teacher, Dr. Jacob Day, leads the way in making this happen.
When Dr. Day first opened his engineering lab at Wylie East only a few years ago, there were less than one hundred students throughout the district who were participating in engineering coursework. Today, that number has skyrocketed to more than five hundred students. I have spoken to many of our students who have chosen to pursue engineering in college. A majority of them attribute their decision to the work of Dr. Day and the inspiration he has provided them. He has made a difference in their lives.
Over the years, Dr. Day has introduced the concept of robotics, has provided students with dual credit opportunities from Collin College, and has made engineering more than a class—he has made it the reason that many kids choose to come to school. The students who may not have found their place in football, cheerleading, or drill team found comfort within the walls of an engineering classroom. And, to them, that made all the difference. Stop by Dr. Day’s lab at any time during the day, and you will find that it’s full of kids, full of robots, and full of HOPE. His students represent their school as engineers. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty cool.
Today, our engineering classes at both Wylie East and Wylie High have reached max capacity; and, it’s teachers like Dr. Jacob Day who light the fire of learning and engagement. It is truly a sight to behold.
Teacher Appreciation Week in Wylie ISD gives us the opportunity to celebrate teachers like Dr. Day and all the others who invest in our kids. Please take a moment to let these wonderful people know that they matter.
Thank you to Jacob and to all of the other Wylie ISD teachers who love our babies each and every day—the Wylie Way!