5 Reasons Dream Big Matters

January 10, 2017
dream-big-title-web-feat

ASCE’s Dream Big dream has been more than a decade in the making.

But the wait is nearly over. In little more than a month, Dream Big: Engineering Our World debuts in museums and theaters around North America. The giant-screen film, presented by Bechtel and produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films in partnership with ASCE, is a game-changer for the engineering profession.

So, as we count down to the big premiere, here is a primer for ASCE members – five reasons Dream Big matters:

The Shanghai skyline includes the Shanghai Tower, where 16,000 people live, work and play. The skyscraper is the world’s second tallest building, and its innovative design is featured in Dream Big.

The Shanghai skyline includes the Shanghai Tower, where 16,000 people live, work and play. The skyscraper is the world’s second tallest building, and its innovative design is featured in Dream Big.

Showing the essential contributions of civil engineering

ASCE members don’t need a reminder that their contributions as civil engineers are vital to society. ASCE members live it.

The average person, on the other hand, may not be aware just how important a role civil engineering plays in their everyday life.

“I genuinely believe it’s the greatest time in history to be an engineer,” said Steve Burrows, P.E., CP, F.ASCE, one of the world’s foremost structural engineers and a star of the Dream Big film. “There’s a perception that engineering’s a dull profession. I don’t know how that happened. It’s just not true.”

Dream Big, by highlighting engineering superheroes like Burrows, explodes that perception.

A member of the student engineering team from Houston, Mississippi races the solar-powered car he helped build for the World Solar Challenge.

A member of the student engineering team from Houston, Mississippi races the solar-powered car he helped build for the World Solar Challenge.

The power of narrative

Dream Big brings the facts and figures behind engineering to life by telling the stories of the engineers.

“MacGillivray Freeman have a rep – and deservedly so – of making films with a human storyline woven in,” said Van Reiner, president and CEO of the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore, which will begin showing Dream Big Feb. 17. “They have done an outstanding job in this case showing engineers solving problems. I think that’s what we have to get across to the students – engineering is all about solutions.”

Haitian schoolgirls are among the first to walk across the newly built Chameau Bridge in Haiti. The bridge was built by the non-profit group Bridges to Prosperity, led by Avery Bang, which brings the benefits of engineering to developing countries.

Haitian schoolgirls are among the first to walk across the newly built Chameau Bridge in Haiti. The bridge was built by the non-profit group Bridges to Prosperity, led by Avery Bang, which brings the benefits of engineering to developing countries.

Inspiring engineering’s next generation

It might sound like a conspiracy except the plan is out in the open for everyone to see. Dream Big aims to inspire a generation of young students to get excited about engineering.

“I think this movie will help a lot to bring younger kids, younger women, and people with diverse backgrounds into engineering, showing them that they can do it too,” said Menzer Pehlivan, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, another of the film’s featured engineers. “We need to raise awareness so that we can grab those brilliant minds and show them that through engineering they can change the world.”

Fredi Lajvardi, head of the Robotics Team at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, with Angelica Hernandez, whose robotics team unexpectedly beat MIT during an underwater robot competition.

Fredi Lajvardi, head of the Robotics Team at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, with Angelica Hernandez, whose robotics team unexpectedly beat MIT during an underwater robot competition.

Putting the spotlight on successful women in engineering

The numbers don’t lie.

Women made up only 15.1 percent of the engineering workforce in 2015, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Engineering Workforce Commission.

Dream Big puts several female engineers on screen, giving them a chance to share their stories and giving girls a chance to imagine themselves in the same role someday.

“I believe that every young woman and girl should understand that they can do this,” said Avery Bang, EI, A.M.ASCE, whose work with Bridges to Prosperity is highlighted in the film. “This is not only for men, this is not only for a certain class of people, it’s not only for people whose parents or uncles or grandfathers were engineers. Engineering is very accessible, and I think that accessibility can build belief.”

Dream Big delves into the inspirational story of civil engineer Menzer Pehlivan, who as a young girl experienced a devastating earthquake in Turkey. Here, Menzer uses everyday items to demonstrate to children how engineers design and build earthquake-proof structures.

Dream Big delves into the inspirational story of civil engineer Menzer Pehlivan, who as a young girl experienced a devastating earthquake in Turkey. Here, Menzer uses everyday items to demonstrate to children how engineers design and build earthquake-proof structures.

More than just a film

Dream Big is more than a movie; it’s a movement.

All of the aforementioned pieces – the education, the inspiration – are incorporated into a variety of companion educational materials so that families and students can further explore their excitement for the film.

“It’s more than just a 40-minute movie,” Burrows said. “It will live on, and you can find out more and more depending on how deep you want to go with all the supporting materials that will go into schools.”

Find more than 50 Dream Big hands-on activities, 10 webisodes, 12 lesson plans, and three design challenge exhibits.

ASCE has led the Dream Big initiative with Bechtel, the ASCE Foundation, NCEES, UEF, and a coalition of engineering organizations.

Stay up-to-date on the latest Dream Big updates.

3 Comments
  • Looks great but no New York theatre?

    • Hi Bob,

      We are optimistic that theaters in New York will book the film. In other markets, the enthusiasm of ASCE members has been a great motivator, so maybe that would work in New York, too?

      Jane Howell

  • I take it from the museum of science and industry web site that the Dream Big film will open on Februariy 17, 2017.

    How long will the Dream Big film be playing at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago?

    And at what time or times of day? this information is needed to plan a family visit.

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