July 2010, Chicago, IL … Senior systems engineers from around the world gathering in Chicago at the annual INCOSE International Symposium, said they are committed to supporting STEM initiatives (for school-aged youth), with a primary focus of improving systems engineering studies.
“Systems engineering and systems thinking at a young age are critical to the vitality of our profession,” said Samantha Brown, president of the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE), whose organization sponsored an Executive Summit with topic on STEM initiatives held during INCOSE’s annual meeting. “The systemic and systematic approach of systems engineering is critical to solving many complex problems,” said Brown, “ but by the time students have an awareness of the field, many have chosen to pursue other areas.”
Governments and industries are concerned that fewer students are attracted to learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills. Among those STEM skills, engineering and systems engineering in particular, get the least amount of attention, INCOSE leaders said. One aim of the Executive Summit was to identify ways for industry, academia and government to work together to build a systems engineering education-to-career pipeline.
“Systems engineering is already present in some aspects of existing school courses,” Brown added, but standardized curricula and increasing specialization as students advance can mean the connectedness gets lost. Today’s complex problems in aerospace, transportation, energy, healthcare, finance and many other fields require systems skills to solve them. It is a critical capability and employers simply can’t develop and recruit qualified people quickly enough to meet their needs.
The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is a not-for-profit membership organization founded to develop and disseminate the interdisciplinary principles and practices that enable the realization of successful systems.