Inspire! Resources: EDUCATE!

Educate! What is an Engineer? Perspectives of Trailblazing Women Engineers is part of the Inspire! Educational Video Collection, based on Dr. Laura Ettinger’s game-changing work for the National Science Foundation that captures the essence of trailblazing American women in engineering, and aims to inspire middle school and early high school students to pursue the STEM fields.

At 3 minutes and 55 seconds running time, it is a short and poignant tool for all audiences, explaining what engineering is and debunking myths about the field, as well as providing the opportunity for important discussions on topics such as exploring engineering as a career, skills and qualities that engineers possess and how engineers impact our world.

Discussion prompts are included here for teachers, guidance counselors, Scout leaders, parents and others to use with middle school and early high school students to accompany this video.

Watching the Video

Educate! What is an Engineer? Perspectives of Trailblazing Women Engineers 
Trailblazing women engineers explain what engineering is and debunk myths about the field. (3:55 minutes)

Produced by Dr. Laura Ettinger, a history professor at Clarkson University, and directed by Zac Miller, founder of Uncommon Image Studios.

Watch the video now by pressing the "Play" button on the video.

Watch  Educate!  on YouTube

Watch  Educate!  on Vimeo

Download  Educate!  from Google Drive

Prior to Viewing Discussion Questions

Q: What do you think of when you hear the word engineer?

Q: What do you think engineers do?

Q: Do you know any engineers? Are any of them women?

Post Viewing Discussion Questions 

Q: How would you answer the question: what do you think engineers do?

Q: What kinds of skills do you think engineers need?

Q: How do you think engineers solve problems?

Q: What makes a good or effective engineering team? Why?

Q: Were you surprised by any of the jobs that engineers do? Which ones did you find particularly interesting or want to know more about?

Self-Reflection and Moving Forward 

Q: Can you see yourself choosing engineering as a career? What types of engineering can you imagine being interested in?

Q: What kind of information or support do you think you would need if you’re interested in exploring engineering as a career? 
A: Some possible answers include...

  • Courses you’d need to take.
  • Special clubs [Robotics, Girls Who Code, etc.].
  • Opportunities to meet engineers or do job shadowing.

Q: Is any of the advice that the engineers gave useful even if you’re not interested in pursuing a career in engineering? Give some examples. What advice would you give a friend who is considering becoming an engineer?

About the INSPIRE! Educational Video Collection

Inspire! is a collection of three educational videos with accompanying discussion prompts that will empower middle school and early high school girls with the tools to overcome obstacles facing girls and women in STEM fields, such as a lack of confidence and discouragement from others. One of the videos, Educate! What is an Engineer? Perspectives of Trailblazing Women Engineers, would be appropriate for use with young people regardless of their gender identification.

Each video features inspiring, real stories told by accomplished women engineers that contextualize and examine hurdles that girls and young women may face in the engineering field and offer strategies to overcome those hurdles. As we hear these stories, we see trailblazing women engineers serving as mentors and role models for the next generation of girls, who embrace the excitement of an engineering education within the context of a STEAM summer camp at Clarkson University, a nationally recognized technological university with locations in Potsdam, Schenectady and Beacon, New York.

The videos can be used together or individually.

Inspire! Educational Video Collection website

Inspire! Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Video


Encourage! Leading Women Engineers Encourage the Next Generation

Leading women engineers encourage girls to do what they love, defy stereotypes, push through setbacks, and pursue engineering. (4:40 minutes)

View Resources for Encourage! Video


Motivate! Motivational Messages from Accomplished Women Engineers

Accomplished women engineers inspire young women and give them advice about their future careers and lives. (3:39 minutes)

View Resources for Motivate! Video

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