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Twitter Chat, Wed, 10/30/13, 8 pm: Depictions of Engineers in Popular Entertainment

Welcome to the Big Beacon twitter chat, where we explore ideas and community relevant to the transformation of engineering education every week.  Look for hashtag #BigBeacon every Wednesday at 8 pm Eastern Time.

Depictions of Engineers in Popular Entertainment

This week, Wednesday October 30 (8 pm), we’ll take a look at Engineers in Popular Entertainment—be it fiction, movies, or TV—first, just for the fun of sharing what you’ve read or seen, but most important to discuss what impact such depictions of engineers have in society. As youngsters grow up, are the fictional engineers they’re seeing (if they see any at all) positive role models highlighting the rewards of the profession, or are they clichéd geeks and nerds, or sinister criminals, or just merged with scientists and reduced to disappearing under the ubiquitous white lab coat? Clearly, engineers are out there in the entertainment universe—a very few hints: the movie Arlington Road, the TV show Prison Break, and the novel Engineered for Murder (there are of course many more)Everyone has their favorites, so come to the Twitter chat and discuss the good, the bad, and ugly and suggest how the entertainment industry could do more to encourage youth to enter engineering by showing fictional engineers to emulate.

Co-Host, Stefan Jaeger, Author of The Jackhammer Elegies

Joining us as my co-host for our Wednesday twitter chat is Stefan Jaeger (@sjaeger82), who, in his long career of working for engineering associations (now with ASCE), decided to address the relative lack of engineers in popular entertainment head on by publishing a thriller of his own, The Jackhammer Elegies, which features a civil engineer as the main character and hero (for more information see The Jackhammer Elegies recently won a 2013 SET Award from the Entertainment Industries Council, which honors film, television and other genres that “inspire youth interest in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math through media and entertainment.” Additional winners include the TV shows and movies The Big Bang TheoryNCISIron Man 3, and Star Trek into Darkness, among others (see EIC’s SET Awards press release). As an organization, EIC maintains close ties with the entertainment industry to promote impactful and factually accurate depictions of the STEM fields. 

So join us on Wednesday at 8 pm EST on twitter (hashtag #BigBeacon) for a thought-provoking conversation among passionate followers of entertainment (by definition, that’s everyone, right?) and let everyone know your formula for how entertainment can help highlight the rewards of engineering and the ability of engineers to be leaders who inspire. 

About Big Beacon

The Big Beacon is a Movement to Transform Engineering Education. An Illinois not-for-profit corporation, Big Beacon was organized to catalyze a global social movement to transform engineering education. The Big Beacon connects dots among individuals and organizations to collaboratively disrupt the status quo, thereby bringing about change to align engineering education with the creativity imperative of our times. Read the Big Beacon Manifesto at

How to Twitter Chat

If you’ve never Twitter chatted before, don’t worry; it’s very easy.  First, get a Twitter account if you don’t already have one, and log in. At 8 PM ET on Wednesday go to and type #BigBeacon into the search box on Twitter. Thereafter all the tweets with the hashtag #BigBeacon will show up on your Twitter page. To participate, simply express your opinion by sending a tweet, and be sure to append the hashtag #BigBeacon so other members of the Twitter Chat see you are posting. Alternatively, automate the hashtag search and append feature by using the free service Tchat at

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