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President’s Point of View
System Engineering begins in Kindergarten
About the time I joined INCOSE, my daughter was attending Kindergarten. In the various teacher/parent meetings I was struck by the fact that little attention was being paid to science, technology, engineering and mathematics – what today we label STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives. My membership in INCOSE had sensitized me to the importance of these kinds of initiatives, and that we could not begin early enough to introduce them into the classroom curriculum. My interest was also piqued by a video (I don’t remember the name) of a female astronaut engaging kindergarten students in what was essentially a systems engineering problem using large building blocks. Needless to say, it wasn’t rocket science and the exercises seemed easily portable to any classroom setting. I was particularly impressed by the enthusiasm and capabilities of the young students and armed with new knowledge, determined to bring what I had learned to my daughter’s teachers and to my fellow parents.
The parents were very receptive. The teachers were not. No matter how much we argued that science and math could be fun and that there were abundant examples of how this could be done, they continued to have allergic reactions to our suggestions. I remember saying that the back yard contained numerous opportunities to bring science alive. A falling leaf reflects the laws of physics, biology, and chemistry – again not rocket science, but at a level that would resonate with most children. With enough of these kinds of examples built into a rigorous curriculum that expanded with age, children would become more inclined to pursue careers in science and engineering.
Fast forward today, and we are in the midst of a national awareness that we have lost a strategic advantage as a nation in the hard and soft sciences. Based on this awareness, there has been an extraordinary and sustained effort on the parts of many organizations and companies to address our nation’s needs. From my perspective, many of these efforts appear to involve robotics based on the pioneering efforts of First, a charitable organization devoted to capturing young children’s inherent curiosity and directs it toward discovering the wonders of science and technology. The children are mentored by adult sponsors and coaches – most involved in engineering and the sciences – not as many as I would like in what we would call the traditional teacher’s profession.
Based on informal conversations with kindergarten and primary school teachers about this issue (and I could be using a very biased sample set), I am struck by the number of times I hear the wish that their education and training programs had placed more emphasis on skills in teaching mathematics and science –and so they feel uncomfortable and unprepared to tackle a robust curriculum in STEM domains. This suggests to me that one of the root causes of our current national STEM malaise resides in the ways we educate and prepare our teachers, primarily those in the lower grades where there are the earliest opportunities to help students discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology and mathematics. By the time students reach the secondary level, they are almost hard-wired in terms of their interest in these areas. Robotics and like initiatives can accelerate and focus this interest – and this is all to the good.
From my point of view, the deeper and more fundamental strategy for building our nation’s competency in STEM areas can be found in the ways we are educating and preparing our teachers – especially in the lower grades – a fairly daunting goal. But there are things that can be done. Perhaps INCOSE CC can initiate an effort to apply the First model not just to students but also to their teachers. Perhaps we can offer tutorials and seminars to teachers in the same way we offer them to our colleagues. Perhaps we can be adjunct professors in academic and educational settings. Perhaps we can adopt a school. I’m sure if we put our heads together, we could come up with a Chapter initiative or two that goes beyond working with robotics initiatives. We might even be a test bed for initiatives that would capture the interest of other INCOSE Chapters and INCOSE Central. If not now, when? If not us, who?
Bill Ewald – INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter President
INCOSE International Symposium, June 24th – 27th, Philadephia, PA
The 23rd Annual INCOSE International Symposium returns to the USA to Philadelphia June 24th – June 27th. The Symposium attracts participants from our global community we anticipate record breaking attendance which will create additional networking and learning opportunities throughout the week.
Presentation: Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), an Exelon Utility, distributes electric power from substations to the consumer and distributes natural gas from the City Gate to the consumer. 1999 was a pivotal year for storm and emergency planning at BGE. While Y2K contingency planning was up and running, the 1999 Ice Storm and Hurricane Floyd struck. The Y2K Team continued their work after 2000 becoming the Business Continuity Organization and institutionalizing contingency planning throughout the Company. This lecture explains the BGE Incident Command System, how it was developed and evolved over the past 13 years. A key part of the system is the Electric Delivery Emergency Response Plan (EDERP) which was first released in 2000 and has evolved over the years in response to lessons learned. This lecture discusses lessons learned from Irene, one of the most severe events in BGE’s history, as well as Snowmageddon, the Derecho and Hurricane Sandy.
Speaker: Chuck Willis is a Senior Engineering Technical Analyst in Electric Systems Operations and Planning at BGE. He received his BS and MS degrees in Management from University of Maryland University College. Chuck graduated from the US Navy’s Nuclear Power Program and served on the USS Nautilus from 1974 through 1980. He joined Baltimore Gas and Electric in 1982 starting his career at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. Chuck has worked in a variety of roles at BGE including Nuclear Training, QA/QC, as the Project Manager for BGE’s Federal Utility Privatization Program and as Functional Project Manager for the upgrade of BGE’s Outage Management System. Chuck has spent the last several years in BGE’s Restoration Services organization.
Don’t Miss next month’s Dinner/Lecture 17 July
MBSE Current State and Directions
While a systems engineering department manager, Friedenthal was responsible for providing systems engineering people, process, and tools to the programs. Friedenthal has been a leader of the Industry Standards effort through the Object Management Group (OMG) and INCOSE to develop the Systems Modeling Language (OMG SysML™) that was adopted by the OMG in 2006. He is co-author of A Practical Guide to SysML™.
Did you miss last month’s lecture?
Maryland Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act
Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 set a goal of a 25% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020. Building on an initial report by Governor O’Malley’s Climate Change Commission published in 2008, the current 2013 plan, will support a green economy, improve air quality, aid in restoring the Chesapeake Bay and promote renewable energy. The Plan’s 150-plus programs and initiatives will also aid in expanding the State’s economy. The Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) analysis of the Plan finds positive economic results for both jobs and economic output for the period of analysis from 2010 through 2020 for an additional net benefit of $7.1 billion in economic output and roughly 42.7 thousand jobs.
Also last month: April’s Agile Workshop
Agile System Development Workshop
DoD, Federal Agencies, and commercial companies facing a high rate of requirements volatility, changing mission needs, and the need for more frequent releases of capabilities are making the Agile transition. As systems engineers and program managers we need to know how the Agile framework and major systems engineering practices can work together. Agile practices are a highly disciplined yet light-weight and flexible approach to the historical scope-driven paradigms. This hands-on workshop takes participants through the Agile framework, transitional practices for change, vision and roadmap planning, requirements and release planning, execution and release progress reporting with a discussion on V-Model components throughout these phases. Emphasis is placed on the necessary collaboration needed between customers, stakeholders, systems engineering, and development teams to enable a well-managed process. These concepts and practices are taught through games and interactive team exercises to help participants better understand and visualize how the process works. A primary objective of this workshop is to provide systems engineers with basic skills for planning, leading, and contributing to Agile projects
This is the monthly newsletter for INCOSE Chesapeake, a local chapter of INCOSE International. We are a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a forum for professionals practicing the art and science of Systems Engineering in the Northern & Central Maryland & Southern Pennsylvania area.
INCOSE International Symposium
The Chesapeake Chapter is always looking for volunteers to speak at our upcoming meetings! Please contact our 2013 Programs Director,
The Chesapeake Chapter of INCOSE is proud to recognize the following organizations for sponsoring our endeavors to expanding the understanding and appreciation of Systems Engineering in the local area:
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INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter © 2013