I would recommend it for any engineer who wants to spread a little joy and interest in the world of engineering.
I’m an Engineer is an online public engagement activity that gets engineers talking to school students all over Ireland.
Engineers develop their communication skills, gain a fresh perspective on their work, and find out what young people think about engineering and the role of engineers.
Applications are open year-round – The next activity runs 2-13 March for Engineers Week.
The activity is split into different themed ‘zones’. This March there are zones for engineers related to:
- health and biomedical engineering
- the environment
- automated and adaptive systems
Thanks to Science Foundation Ireland and Wellcome for funding these zones. Read more about March’s zones.
How it works
Everything happens online so it’s easy for you to be involved right from your desk or smartphone and at times that suit your schedule.
Engineers put up a profile on this site, answer students’ questions about engineering, their work, the universe and beyond. They engage directly with students in live text-based chats. Students vote for their favourite engineer to win €500 to spend on further public engagement.
When the activity happens
Every Engineers Week, usually February or March.
The questions students ask
Students will ask engineers questions about anything they like: About you, your work and engineering in general. It’s up to you which ones you answer.
All questions are moderated, to remove duplicate questions, as well as rude or offensive ones. The variety of questions and reactions from students are key to the benefits engineers get from taking part.
Live chats with classes
Live chats last 30 minutes; they are text-based, fast paced and fun. We limit the chats to 3 a day, but usually there will be fewer. We don’t expect all engineers to attend every chat!
Evictions up the excitement
Starting on Tuesday of the second week, the engineer with the fewest votes will be ‘evicted’ at 3pm each day, until one is left to be crowned the winner on the last Friday! Students get a new vote every day, so there’s always something to play for.
Prize money for your projects
One engineer in every zone wins €500 to be spent on a engineering communication project: school visits, engineer fair exhibits, videos or podcasts, blogs, arranging class visits to your office. Check out how past winners have spent their money
Time commitment is flexible and the format is designed to so you can fit taking part into your normal schedule as much as possible.
Most scientists say they spend around 1-2 hours a day on the site; maybe 1 hour on live chats and another hour answering students’ questions, which can be during the evening, outside of the work day, on the train home… Each run of the activity usually takes place over two weeks.
Zones: A group of engineers and schools
The event is divided into zones with five or six engineers each. Some are general zones, named after a SI Unit and featuring a mix of engineers from different areas, like the Kilogram Zone. Others are themed zones, such as the Materials Zone.
All that’s needed is a computer with internet access. The live chats are text-based (no video or audio needed) and run through this site. Find out more about why it’s a text-focused format.
Who can apply
The activity shows students the wide variety of engineering careers, so is open to engineers from academia (from PhD students to professors) and industry.
Engineers write a short summary explaining their work to 13/14 year olds when they apply. Students and teachers rate these summaries, to guide who is selected for each zone. Read more about the application process