Reflecting on engineering education at TEDx Youth in Kyiv, Ukraine

It was an amazing opportunity to give a talk in Kyiv, just as the city settled from its revolution. Here are a few excerpts.

I am a big believer in the importance of feedback and mentorship:

Mentor is someone that holds one accountable to your goals, the things that you promised to yourself. He is someone that you choose rather than being assigned to you, so you are naturally inclined to respect them and follow their advice. It is someone to turn to in times of crisis. The first value in problem solving is to ask for and give excellent mentorship. But of course, everyone’s mind is wired differently, so it might not be possible to pin down what excellent mentorship means to you.

I was speaking in support of collaboration, especially in the context of open-source software/hardware:

I hope to have raised a question, of how can four undergraduate students develop a machine that requires knowledge of electrical, mechanical and aeronautical engineering and computer science. It was because of collaboration. We built on top of existing work of other people, something which has been is at the center of human development in academia for centuries. But today, working in the global market where products can be shipped between any two locations in the world in 5 days, it is easier than ever before to draw inspiration for pre-existing solutions.

Engineering problems of importance can come in all shapes and sizes:

A real problem can affect the lives of a large group of people, or a small group of people in a significant way. You may find it via a statistical report, self-reflection in the shower, or talking to people in need of help. But once you spot one, it makes for the strongest problem definition