The sub-committee of the SFPE Outreach & Advocacy standing committee helps develop materials and provide resources that can be used to help students learn about fire protection engineering. Volunteer members work with student outreach programs such as the annual Future City Competition (as team mentors or competition judges) and run booths at the USA Engineering and Science Festival. Materials and resources for these programs are gathered and disseminated to middle school, high school, and college students.
Fire protection engineering is one of the best kept secrets in terms of lucrative and fulfilling career prospects for students considering engineering careers. For those who have never heard of fire protection engineering, it is the application of science and engineering principles to protect people and the environment from the dangers of fire. Fire protection engineering is one of the hottest career choices available for students interested in engineering and making the world a safer place. Fire protection engineers are in very high demand both in the United States and across the world, and work everywhere: in big and small cities, urban areas and rural communities, even remote wilderness areas. Some fire protection engineers (FPEs) work in business offices or classrooms, others in factories or research labs or onsite at a building location.
FPEs enjoy high salaries and great job security, as there is a high demand for their expertise. Fire protection engineers have significantly higher starting salaries than do college graduates with bachelor’s degrees in many other fields. The median starting base salary for a fire protection engineer is nearly $70,363.
Future City starts with a question—how can we make the world a better place? To answer it, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future that showcase their solution to a citywide sustainability issue. Past topics include stormwater management, urban agriculture, public spaces, and green energy.
Participants complete four deliverables: a 1,500-word city essay; a scale model built from recycled materials; a project plan, and a presentation to judges at Regional Competitions in January. Regional winners represent their region at the Finals in Washington, DC in February. After completing Future City, student participants are not only prepared to be citizens of today’s complex and technical world, but also poised to become the drivers of tomorrow.
This flexible, cross-curricular educational program gives students an opportunity to do the things that engineers do—identify problems; brainstorm ideas; design solutions; test, retest and build; and share their results. This process is called the engineering design process. With this at its center, Future City is an engaging way to build students’ 21st century skills. Students participating in Future City:
- Apply math and science concepts to real-world issues
- Develop writing, public speaking, problem solving, and time management skills
- Research and propose solutions to engineering challenges
- Discover different types of engineering and explore careers options
- Learn how their communities work and become better citizens
- Develop strong time management and project management skills
Engineering and Science Festival:
From climate change to pandemics to a competitive global economy, the children of the United States are facing an uphill battle, and SFPE Student Outreach is here to help them create a better world for the future. In 2010, serial entrepreneur Larry Bock had a vision. Bock knew that the US was struggling to fill the STEM talent gap and that students were scoring poorly in science and math. He was also keenly aware that students and teachers in under served areas lack the resources to help them succeed. The USA Science & Engineering Festival was created to reinvigorate the interest of STEM in our nation’s youth.
With exciting hands-on activities from hundreds of organizations, such as SFPE, companies, universities and government agencies; diverse STEM role models; and science stage show presentations; students can see and experience firsthand the vast and exciting world of the STEM fields. Through this program, SFPE Student Outreach helps provide free and engaging STEM content for these students.
Articles Relevant to Student Outreach:
“Pathways to Becoming a Fire Protection Engineer” (2012 Careers Issue, Fire Protection Engineering Magazine)
“What is a Fire Protection Engineer”
“FPEs Have Diverse Career Options” (2014 Careers Issue, Fire Protection Engineering Magazine)