A letter written by Thomas G. Loughlin ’83, executive director of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, appeared in the Oct. 29 print and web editions of The New York Times.
Loughlin was responding to the Times editorial, “48th Is Not a Good Place,” which appeared on Oct. 26. The editorial commented on the National Academies report, released in September, indicating that the United States “ ranks 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college student with degrees in science and engineering, while the World Economic Forum ranked this county 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction.”
The National Academies is the country’s leading advisory group on science and technology.
View Loughlin’s letter online or below:
To the Editor:
There is indeed a crisis in what’s come to be known as STEM education — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Recently, an impressive array of groups met in Washington to find new ways to reverse this trend. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has joined many others to advocate for stronger public policy, increased numbers of volunteers working with local educators, and improved career guidance and curricular materials.
We must address this issue comprehensively if we are to inspire the next generation to take up the engineering profession as an ideal way to help make the world a better place.
The field of engineering has the potential to unlock students’ imaginations and to make their abstract science and math lessons come to life. In the words of the great engineer and innovator Theodore von Karman, “Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was.”
Loughlin has been executive director of ASME since 2008. He previously served as deputy executive director and second assistant treasurer. A mechanical engineer, prior to joining ASME in 1993, he worked as chief engineer at Securitas Lock Group, Brooklyn, N.Y., and he is co-founder of Security Techniques, Inc., of Stanton, N.J. He holds five patents.
Loughlin is also active in other organizations including Council on Engineering and Scientific Executives, National Outdoor Leadership School, and Engineers Without Borders-USA.