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:
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.