A Great New Way to Get Kids Excited about Engineering

Via Verde is an innovative, large-scale effort to develop affordable, sustainable housing in New York City. Read all about it in our new edition of the Start Engineering Career Guide, a great tool to make engineering exciting and accessible to middle and high school students.

Via Verde is an innovative, large-scale effort to develop affordable, sustainable housing in New York City. Read all about it in our new edition of the Start Engineering Career Guide, a great tool to make engineering exciting and accessible to middle and high school students.

What’s great about engineering

Engineering can be a great course of study and work for all kinds of students.

  • The technical content makes it intrinsically interesting for kids who excel in math and science.
  • The opportunities for exercising creativity should appeal to those with lively imaginations.
  • It brings energetic, smart people together on projects that improve all of our lives. Anyone who enjoys collaborative projects in the cause of helping the world would find a natural fit with engineering.

Never a small factor, career prospects for engineering grads are always bright. And the field pays better than any other kind of degree, coming out of college.

Studying engineering can also prepare students to succeed not only in the field but also in other areas. Engineering students develop a combination of technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork skills that will serve them will in whatever career path they end up choosing.

How to get there from here

For all the appeal of an engineering degree, though, understanding what the field is really about can be difficult. Even with a grasp of what engineers do, plotting a successful path through the right engineering school and into the field can be tricky.

Questions abound:

  • Which of the many engineering fields is right for any given student?
  • How does she prepare for it?
  • How does he know what college to choose?
  • Where can a family find help paying for their child’s education?
  • What companies hire what kinds of graduates?
  • How much money might an engineering graduate make?

How the Start Engineering Career Guide can help

The new edition of the Start Engineering Career Guide is a 52-page, magazine-style guide to all the cool things engineers can do in their careers.

The new edition of the Start Engineering Career Guide is a 52-page, magazine-style guide to all the cool things engineers can do in their careers.

To help students, parents, and all the people who guide high school graduates through choices about college and careers, we have offered the Start Engineering Career Guide.

A big seller for the last two years, it is now available in a fully updated edition, including new features on the cool things engineers do and the most-recent information available about degree programs, salaries, and career prospects.

The first edition was popular with colleges and universities, school districts, non-profits and corporations, and government agencies.

“It captivates students’ attention, a catalyst in promoting more students into STEM fields.” Aaron Smith, author of Awakening Your STEM School

The new edition, in our opinion, does an even better job of making engineering accessible, exciting, and relevant to middle and high school students.

And like all of our books, organizations can customize the back cover and/or inside front cover with their own logo and message.

A peek into the new edition

To give a flavor of how the Start Engineering Career Guide works, we are including below one of the new articles. It describes an exciting project in New York City to build ecologically friendly, affordable housing that could be a model for sustainable development in almost any urban environment.

We invite you to sample this feature and then find out more on our website about the new edition of the Start Engineering Career Guide.


Healthy, Sustainable,  & Affordable

With green roofs and a multitude of solar panels, New York City’s Via Verde represents a new model for healthy urban living.

One of the most critical and exciting engineering frontiers is urban planning.  Critical, because we know the percentage of city-dwellers is increasing and that providing shelter, energy, and food for our planet’s total population has negative impacts on our environment.  

Attractive, usable space to share with neighbors is an integral part of the Via Verde concept.

Attractive, usable space to share with neighbors is an integral part of the Via Verde concept.

Exciting, because there are so many possibilities for creativity.

Affordable housing is a buzzword because cities face availability and cost pressures on rents and home ownership.  Providing affordable housing is linked to sustainability — having populations living close by jobs and schools reduces stress on the environment.  Because we know that relying on fossil fuels for transportation, neglecting water infrastructure, and ignoring neighborhoods without basic amenities don’t make for sustainability, engineers are working on strategies that do!

A great example is Via Verde, The Green Way, in New York City. Via Verde is a mixed-use project providing new, affordable housing designed to support healthy living and walkability — another buzzword.  Walkability means that important amenities like grocery stores as well as resources for healthcare, culture, and recreation are accessible by foot, reducing fuel consumption and cost of access.  Walkability is proven to attract jobs and boost quality of life.

Via Verde has housing units for rent as well as co-ops for ownership for low- through middle-income families, with options in low-rise town homes, a mid-rise duplex building, and a 20-story apartment tower. There is ground-floor retail and office space, and apartments specifically designed for working from home.  But putting in actual green space was just as important to planners. In addition to many open-air courtyards, connected rooftops and walkways give shape to an extensive park.  Residents can go for a scenic stroll several stories above the streets, harvest rainwater, and grow fruits and vegetables — all in the middle of the South Bronx!


What do you think?

We’d love to get comments on the article or the new edition in general. If you have any questions about how the book works to get kids excited about engineering, please be in touch. We’ll be glad to help in any way we can.


Eric Iversen is VP for Learning and Communications at Start Engineering. He has written and spoken widely on engineering education in the K-12 arena. You can write to him about this topic, especially when he gets stuff wrong, at eiversen@start-engineering.com

You can also follow along on Twitter @StartEnginNow.

Now available! A bilingual version of Dream, Invent, Create, for making engineering come alive in Spanish and English at the same time.

Our Dream, Invent, Create Teacher’s Guide makes it easy to get started teaching elementary school engineering, even with no training in the field. And for any outreach or education program, check out What’s Engineering?, Dream, Invent, Create, and Start Engineering: A Career Guide. Our books can help deliver an accessible, engaging picture of engineering to all kinds of K-12 audiences.