We just had our first annual Franklin Formal Dinner! The theme for the dinner was Empathy in Engineering. Dr. Bassett spoke a bit about Empathy in Engineering and then opened the dinner with some guiding questions while the food was being distributed. Then we heard from our speaker, Jennifer Toole, the founder and CEO of Toole Design. Jennifer is an NCSU grad (in landscape architecture) and her firm is a transportation engineering/design organization that specializes in pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure. It is based in Washington, DC and has 16 offices nationwide, and employs over 200 people. One of the intriguing things about the firm is that it argues strongly for the need to rethink transportation infrastructure around “three new E’s” –ethics, equity, and empathy. (The “old” three Es in transportation were engineering, education, and enforcement.) You can find out more about her company here. We have asked Jennifer to speak on the guiding question “What is the role of empathy for engineers?”
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed our first annual dinner. We asked some alumni from the area to join us so current Franklins were able to interact with each other and Franklin alumni. We got very good feedback from those in attending and personally, I had a very good time talking and meeting with other Franklins. This is the first event we have had where all current Franklins have been in attendance.