The last two weeks have been fun haven’t they? Sounds a bit weird saying that an engineering Q&A was fun… But I really did have a blast speaking with you guys and answering your questions. As some of you know, I spent the first week of the chats in Sao Paulo, Brazil. And it’s funny because looking back on the trip, probably the thing that I enjoyed most was getting up early to see what questions you guys asked and to take part in the chat rooms. I enjoyed it so much I even bought a Brazilian sim card so that I could continue messaging while on the drive to the University!
So the first thing I’d like to do is thank each of you for the great attitude you have displayed over the two weeks, and for all of the questions that you have asked. You made the whole thing really enjoyable for me.
I’m really flattered that you guys chose me as your winner. Thanks to each and every student that voted for me – it really means a lot that you took the effort and time to do this. With the prize money, I will deliver on the promise to set up a website that will showcase and promote robotics research in Ireland (hopefully some of you will join us someday?..), as well as provide access to free training resources that will help people learn about building robots and programming computers. I will make it a priority to get this off the ground ASAP. In the meantime, I will use Twitter (username is @thebotmechanic) to send out progress notifications, and maybe use it to get some feedback when I start developing the site.
I’d also like to give a big thanks to my competitors and fellow engineers: Jeff, Sarah, Ilaria and Frederik. I’ve really enjoyed interacting with you guys in the chatrooms and I’ve learnt a lot from reading your responses to the questions. I am hopeful that I will get the chance to meet and talk with you in person someday – although it might be a little weird as I feel that I know you way more than is normal for people I haven’t met before! 🙂 I should also say a big thank you SFI, Engineers Ireland, and to all the team at imanengineer.ie. After all, none of this would have happened without their collective vision and hard work.
My final message to the students to wish you all luck and success in whatever it is that you decide to do with your lives. Whether you decide to become engineers or not, I sincerely hope that you pursue whatever it is that makes you happiest.
That being said, engineering and technology is changing our lives at a faster pace than ever before. Despite this, engineering and technology as topics are rarely talked about in the mainstream media and they remain inaccessible to much of the population.
I urge all of you to stay as engaged with engineering and technology as you have been over the past few weeks. Continue to ask questions about what engineers are doing, and about how and why they are doing it. Help get these activities get the mainstream attention they need. Young people need better role models than the Kardashians and our society needs to be more in tune with how engineers are changing the world.