Engineers With Appetites!


You’ve gotta love pictures of giant food like this, or maybe it’s just a guy thing – I don’t know!  This Thursday I’ll be the keynote speaker (vigorous applause) for an event called Engineers With Appetites, a fancy-shmancy fundraiser dinner for my school’s Engineers Without Borders (EWB) club.  I relish (!) the opportunity to practice my speaking skills, gush about how awesome the EWB undergrads are (I truly am impressed by their passion for service and their joyfulness), and also offer the challenge to never let their appetites diminish…..their appetite for alleviating poverty and for justice, that is.  I want to see scientists and engineers extend a systems thinking approach beyond engineering into the complicated world we live in.

I love that the theme of the event is already focused around the word appetite – such a basic, fundamental, joyful, and even primitive word that can stand for anything we crave or are passionate about in addition to the food we need to survive.  I especially enjoy making parallels with Jesus’ words about hungering for righteousness and thirsting for justice.  The official invitation contains the quote “Quench your appetite to change the world”, so this fits right in.  This type of language is a way to talk about something in a very accessible, human way that touches something everyone knows, but it doesn’t require any religiosity!  Interesting that Jesus mostly used very practical, down-to-earth parables and stories that anyone in his day could directly relate to.  (Many of them also upset common prejudices and biases).  So I don’t have to mention Jesus or quote the bible at all.  This makes it more accessible and eliminates any baggage a more religious approach could bring. The message behind Jesus’ words are beautiful, universal, and good – and that’s the most important part.  Who cares if it’s in the Bible, the Koran, or if it’s just some guy named Ethan talking about a vigorous appetite for justice as long as it’s true and good and beautiful.

Here’s what the invitation looks like, and I’ll post my speech and let you know how it goes.  It’s been a crazy week so I’ve gotten behind…didn’t post on Easter (felt an obligation there for sure!) and haven’t done my next planned post.  But whatever.  I figure I’m a little crazy for trying to write a book, find a publisher, etc. while doing my Ph.D.  But I will just chug along and do what I can when I can.  No need to stress myself out about an imaginary blogging deadline, although I hope people will eventually demand more from me when I’m being slow!

So I hope this post whets your appetite for a little more!  I’m excited to be speaking about something I’m passionate about.  What an honor!

2013 EWA Invitation