I think PVIT really serves three purposes. First of all, it exposes students to real technology, to the process of engineering, to the fact that things don’t actually work out first time the way that a lot of pre-prepared classroom demonstrations do. It teaches imagination, ingenuity, and perseverance – and a lot about how to work as a team, especially when things get stressful.
Secondly I believe PVIT helps students see the joy of engineering; that it’s an exciting, creative, and – yes – fun thing to do, and, perhaps, that it’s worth thinking about as a career. We as a society and a country need our best and brightest in the sciences and engineering, and every student PVIT turns on to these things is a big win for us all.
Finally, even for students that don’t end up becoming engineers, I believe PVIT provides an important lesson: that technology is something that can be understood, reasoned about, created and used. In this century , the world will face many challenges that either stem from, or are addressable by, technology (or both). What we need are well-informed citizens that not only consume technology, but can understand it, create from it, reason about it and, hopefully make the world a better place. PVIT, in it’s own small way, plays a role in making this happen.
Why Do This?
As a parent and a mentor I was asked last summer for my thoughts on why I think PVIT is important as a program. I’ll repeat this here for the benefit of students, and their parents, thinking of joining us this year.