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News Release

IEEE-USA-Backed Engineering News Spots Aired
in 23 U.S. TV Markets; IEEE-Cosponsored PBS Engineering
Reality Program Airs First 13 Episodes

WASHINGTON (19 June 2007) The IEEE is reaching out to two different segments of the public from nine-to-13-year-olds and to adults in its quest to promote the understanding of engineers and engineering, as well as to encourage technological literacy. For the third consecutive year, IEEE-USA is underwriting the American Institute of Physics (AIP) "Discoveries & Breakthroughs" TV news spots. In addition, for the first time, the IEEE is a cosponsor of a new PBS TV series, the engineering-based reality program, "Design Squad."

"DISCOVERIES & BREAKTHROUGHS" TV NEWS SPOTS: Each month, AIP's "Discoveries & Breakthroughs" news service delivers a dozen 90-second spots (in English and Spanish) to the top 66 television markets in the United States with a potential reach of 75-million viewers.

Recent studies have shown that most Americans learn about engineering through television news, either local or cable. Additionally, according to University of Minnesota research commissioned by AIP, short-term exposure to "Discoveries & Breakthroughs" news spots on local TV stations "fosters positive perceptions about the accessibility" of science and technology and the role they play in society. Further, the research documents that those exposed to "Discoveries & Breakthroughs" stories "appear to be more likely than their counterparts to talk with peers" about sci-tech. And the university researchers conclude that "the program could activate social networks in support of key legislative and policy-related goals."

Since 2005, IEEE-USA has helped to underwrite almost 300 local TV news stories on engineering and science. In the last 16 months, 25 stories about IEEE-related technologies aired in 23 different TV markets, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Phoenix and Miami. The average number of household views for these 23 markets combined is estimated at more than 70-million. Stations airing the IEEE-related spots were a mix of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, cable and independent affiliates.

Recent IEEE-technology-related stories included: "Engineering Makes Movie Motion Realistic"; "Engineers Invent Doppler-Based Stethoscope"; "RFID-Based Recycling Technology Makes Philadelphia Greener"; and "Automotive Engineers Team Up to Improve Energy-Saving Technology." To view these news spots, go to www.aip.org/dbis.

A limited number of two DVD compilations of IEEE-related technologies included in "Discoveries & Breakthroughs" is available to IEEE members by sending an e-mail to <p.mccarter@ieee.org>.

"DESIGN SQUAD" ENGINEERING REALITY PBS TV PROGRAM: Intended for youngsters in the critical "tween" age group of nine-to-13, PBS' "Design Squad" is part of a national, multimedia initiative designed to pique interest especially among girls and minorities in engineering concepts and challenges. From March through June, PBS has aired its first 13 programs on such engineering challenges as converting kiddie toys into motorized dragsters; creating original musical instruments; building "bizarre" bikes; raising 20-foot bridges without power tools; devising a way to cover all the angles of a basketball game via remote-controlled cameras; and designing "the most durable, portable and low-cost" peanut butter making machines for a women's collective in Haiti.

"Design Squad" also includes a Web site that provides behind-the-scenes information, games and descriptions of the program's engineering challenges and solutions, plus an e-zine that highlights the role of engineers in society. And, as part of the program's public-outreach component, IEEE-USA is scheduling a workshop for U.S. IEEE volunteers at an upcoming meeting to bring "Design Squad" challenges to local schools and communities.

The program has begun to elicit positive reactions. Common Sense Media, which provides family television reviews, notes on its Web site: "What sets this series apart from other reality shows is the teens' positive attitude they don't get upset over losses, instead celebrating (and congratulating) their peers' ingenuity. Tweens with the building bug will love this smart series and with four girls in the cast, viewers will be reminded that engineering isn't just a guy thing anymore."

To read the entire review, go to www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/Design-Squad.html.

Full "Design Squad" episodes can be downloaded at http://pbskids.org/designsquad.

To find local PBS stations and listings, see
http://pbskids.org/tvschedules/localizer.html?dest=/designsquad/index.html&nola=DESQ&station

Major funding for the program is provided by the National Science Foundation and the Intel Foundation; additional funding comes from the IEEE, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Tyco Electronics and others.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public-policy interests of more than 220,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE. IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society with 360,000 members in 150 countries. See www.ieeeusa.org.

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++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
CONTACT: Pender M. McCarter, APR, Fellow PRSA, MIPRA
IEEE-USA Senior Public Relations Counselor
PHONE: + 1 202 530 8353 E-MAIL: p.mccarter@ieee.org ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

 

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