The University of Utah College of Engineering marks National Engineering Week boasting a doubling of the number of engineering graduates since 1999. 368 engineering and computer science degrees were issued that year by the U. Then Governor Mike Leavitt challenged the state’s higher education system with the 2000 Engineering Initiative. 777 total degrees were issued in 2013. Dean of the College Richard Brown says the result has been a reverse of the so called brain drain of 30 years ago.
“At this point there are so many jobs for engineering graduates in Utah that we attract students from other places, even other countries, and they end up staying in Utah and contributing to our economy," says Brown. "So it’s working very much in our favor now.”
Brown says support from all governors and legislators since Leavitt has been consistent. He says the current Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative, known as STEM education, encourages young students to think big and look to an engineering degree as a foundation.
“Engineers conceive of and develop new inventions, things that didn’t exist before that make life better for people. So it’s really an exciting and stimulating area,” Brown says.
The outreach program of the college features “Meet an Inventor Night” coming up February 27th. In March it’s the FIRST Robotic Competition March 13th-15th and Elementary Engineering Week March 24th-28th.