Scouting for Future Engineers

Todd Cartwright’s interest in engineering began when he took apart a ballpoint pen his dad had given him and put it back together. He was eight years old. For some kids, though, it takes more than a pen to spark interest in pursuing a career in engineering. That’s one of the reasons Cartwright, an NV5 project manager, helps organize an annual event that encourages local Boy Scouts to learn what it takes to be an engineer.

“It offers kids the chance to look ‘under the hood’ and see what engineering does,” Cartwright explained. “It’s also a way to give back to the community.” The event is hosted by the Local Pikes Peak Post of the Society of American Military Engineers.

Thirty-nine boys along with thirty-nine volunteers attended the day-long event last Saturday in Colorado Springs. Activities included a construction site tour, hands-on engineering activities, interviews with military and civilian engineers, including Cartwright, along with discussions regarding educational and training requirements. By the end of the day, the boys had earned their Engineering Merit Badges and the engineering community may have gained a future batch of engineers.

Usually a merit badge is earned by sitting down with a counselor for several sessions, Cartwright said.  “But this event provides a unique opportunity for the boys to go out there and get their hands dirty.”

This is the event’s fourth year. It has been so successful that Cartwright hopes to hold a similar event for Girl Scouts next year.

Cartwright has been involved with scouting for 12 years now. His oldest son is an Eagle Scout and his youngest is a First Class Scout. Both boys volunteered at the event.