Want to get your kids interested in STEM? Take them to see Dream Big: Engineering Our World in IMAX 3D!

Few people know this about me but I was actually an engineering major my freshman year in college. In fact I double majored in aerospace engineering and theater. Seriously. That’s because at 17 years old when I went to college I couldn’t decide between my desire to be an astronaut and my passion for acting. So I chose both. Until reality (aka my grades) set in and I passed all my acting classes but failed my engineering classes. Science is hard ya’ll!

The Longjiang Bridge is the longest and highest suspension bridge in China. Spanning a distance almost equal to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Longjiang towers 900 feet above a river gorge in western Yunnan Province. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)

An engineer performs a routine inspection of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. The Golden Gate is a suspension bridge designed by a team of engineers in the 1930s. Up until 1964, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)












That’s why I couldn’t wait to get a sneak peek of Dream Big. A film about how engineers impact our world. We took Chan to see it because as I mentioned, science is very special to our family. From space and bridges to buildings and robotics, engineers touch every aspect of our lives. That road you drive on ever day? A planning engineer helped design it and construct it. Your office building or house? Constructed and designed by engineers. Innovations in technology, big and small are created by engineers.

Engineers work on the final pieces of the Chameau footbridge in Haiti. The Chameau Bridge will provide much-needed access to schools and medical care for isolated, rural families. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)

Innovative engineers designed the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, which moves boats between two different levels of canals. It is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)












The heart of this 42 minute documentary-style film narrated beautifully by Jeff Bridges showcases how engineers strive to keep people safe. Safe in travel, and day-to-day life. In the film they visit remote parts of Haiti to watch civil engineers build a bridge that transforms a community.  And in Scotland an engineering feat that’s made water transportation more quick and efficient. Throughout the film we see wonderful examples of engineering at work.

Engineer Avery Bang celebrates with local Haitian families who will benefit from the new Chameau Bridge. Avery is the head of the non-profit group Bridges to Prosperity, which has built more than 200 bridges in impoverished countries. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)

But my favorite part was seeing the young girls and women who were inspired by engineering. A recent report found that only 14% of engineers in the US are women. That’s a disappointing number given how innovative and smart women are. The report from the Congressional Joint Economic Committee says it’s because “women are less likely to pursue degrees in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics).














I think this movie could help change that. Dream Big: Engineering Our World features women in several areas of engineering who are making a difference. My own daughter was on her feet during the film and trying to reach out and touch the cool bridges and buildings (It was in 3D!) Filmmaker Shaun MacGillivray told the audience inspiring young girls is just one of the film’s goals.

The Shanghai skyline includes the Shanghai Tower, where 16,000 people live, work and play. The skyscraper is the world’s second tallest building, and its innovative design is featured in Dream Big. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)

“The film reveals that engineering has at its core far more than math and science; it is just as much about getting creative, about helping people and even carving out our human destiny.”

Dream Big also highlights teachers and educators we so desperately need to inspire our kids to have a life long love of science. And in addition to being visually stunning, the music is fun and makes you want to dance with an engineer. Maybe that wasn’t their main goal but it’s a cool side effect!

Fredi Lajvardi, head of the Robotics Team at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona, with Angelica Hernandez, whose robotics team unexpectedly beat MIT during an underwater robot competition. (Copyright American Society of Civil Engineers.)

Dream Big: Engineering Our World opens in select theaters across the US on Feb. 17th. You can see where it’s playing near you here.

And if you’re in the Los Angeles area and want to win a 4 pack of tickets to the IMAX showing of this film at the California Science Center just answer my trivia question in the comments below or on Facebook. I’ll pick one of the correct answers at random by Feb. 17th and you’ll get a 4 pack of tickets and a swag bag with Dream Big promotional items from MacGillivray Freeman, The American Society of Engineers and Bechtel.

Trivia Question for a 4 pack of tickets to see Dream Big:

Who was NASA’S first African-American female engineer?

(good luck!)