History of EIR
In the summer of 1997, two people met for coffee. They began discussing the waning enthusiasm they saw in many youth for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and the underrepresentation of engineering profession in elementary and high schools. Even students entering into college or university engineering programs didn’t often know what to expect, often lacking a clear picture of what engineering is really all about.
The conversation was between George Comrie, Chair of Professional Engineers Ontario’s Education Committee at the time, and Jeffrey Crelinsten, Principal and Co-founder of the Impact Group, specializing in STEM education. Jeffrey suggested the idea for Engineer-in-Residence — a program going beyond the usual drop-in-for-a-day style of school-expert engagement, now with potential to enhance and enrich the school curriculum.
In 1998, the program began as a four-month pilot project in the Toronto-area, bringing students, engineers, and teachers together — a relationship fostering hands-on learning and problem solving abilities in students, while inspiring them to engage in STEM subjects. By September 1999, the EIR program had spread across 14 participating schools. In 2014, Engineers of Tomorrow began coordinating the program, incorporating inclusive messaging to reach students who may have not have considered engineering as an option. Today, the program is active in over 200 classrooms across Ontario.
Throughout the years, the EIR program has also reached out to communities through partnerships with local museums and science centres, running day-long workshops, activities, and presentations for children and families in Ottawa, Windsor, and Kitchener. In 2011, a project called Bridging Worlds partnered undergraduate engineering students with teacher candidates in order to design and implement their own STEM activities for elementary and secondary students.
A promotional video can be for the EIR program can be found here.