A Behind The Scenes Look at the Miles and Inspiration Gained in Documenting NBC News Learn’s Engineering Your World Video Series

by STEMconnector


This is a guest blog post by Ellen Rose, producer for NBC News Learn and its Engineering Your World  video series

 

On March 6, 2018, I boarded my flight for the first of 20 shoots for NBC News Learn’s original series “Discovering You: Engineering Your World.” While I knew what the goal was – to engage more young girls in engineering through relatable, interesting stories – I had no idea the way it would affect my life. I met some of the most humble, hard-working women, and a few men, I’ve ever come across. They all have the mind set of paying it forward to the next generation while remembering where they came from.

My travels took me 16 different states (7 new ones – I’m now up to 40 states) across our beautiful nation to produce 20 different video profiles. These are just a few highlights. I could go on and on, trust me.

  • Traveling to Alaska to interview Melody Shangin, an Alaska Native and electrical engineer updating communications systems along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
  • Interviewing Shayna Begay, an aerospace engineer who is a member of the Navajo Nation, now building and updating our nuclear weapons stockpile at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Entering a clean room in full-protective clothing with Angelique Johnson, a biomedical engineer and the CEO of MEMStim, LLC, whose company is changing the way cochlear implants are manufactured.
  • Hearing Patricia Mwove’s story, a computer engineer at Intel who arrived in the U.S. from Kenya with $100 in her pocket to begin her engineering journey.
  • Visiting the Clif Bar Baking Company in Twin Falls, Idaho, with chemical engineer Lane Daley. I have never seen such an endless amount of Clif Bars in my life and it was amazing to think about the time and effort that went into producing them.

The project was lucky enough to receive funding to highlight 10 more incredible engineers doing amazing things in their field, so I’m currently traveling from Seattle to Los Angeles to film the second of four stories on the west coast. Each video has a tailored lesson plan attached to it so teachers can implements these videos and activities directly into their classrooms.

I have to pinch myself sometimes by how lucky I was to get this assignment in the summer of 2017. The planning with our partners at Chevron, the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Science Foundation, began long before that and I can’t thank my team at NBC News Learn, especially Soraya Gage and Caleb Medders, enough for entrusting me with this massive project.

I hope young girls and boys see themselves in these inspiring group of engineers who are changing lives in their communities every day. They are the epitome of the American dream and it is an honor to share their stories.

Ellen Rose is a broadcast and digital producer for NBC News Learn. Click here to learn more about NBC News Learn’s Engineering Your World celebration of engineers and access the entire video series.