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PBS Program Will Promote Engineering to Middle School Students

PBS program "Design Squad Nation" has announced it will partner with Rocket21 to engage its community of tweens in the show's content and activities to help meet the demand for engineers in the job market in the years to come.

"Design Squad Nation," produced by WGBH, is a program for middle school children that includes television episodes on PBS, an interactive website and hands-on engineering activities.  The show is designed to increase kids' awareness and understanding of engineering.

On the program's site, kids can post real-life solutions to real-life problems and respond to challenges from the show by sketching and building their own prototypes. The site's blog features engineering and DIY content from across the Web.

Rocket21, a new social network designed to encourage young people to explore their potential, will add a "Design Squad Nation" area that will feature projects, Web links and the chance to interact with the show's creators and producers, as well as inventors, designers and engineers.

"The Rocket21 platform supercharges kids' explorations into the vast possibilities offered by 21st century careers," said Jodell Seagrave, president and COO, Rocket21. "Experiencing direct connections with ‘Design Squad Nation’ can transform their concept of engineering from something abstract and technical to a huge collection of very cool pursuits."

For its part, members of the "Design Squad Nation" team will become R21 pros. As such, they will be among experts from a number of fields who will interact with kids. R21 pros include explorers, artists, ecologists, business executives, entertainers, scientists, activists, engineers, nurses, doctors, educators, and others.

"Rocket21 is a perfect online companion for 'Design Squad Nation'," said Marisa Wolsky, executive producer, WGBH. "The Rocket21 community is committed and open to discovering where life can take them, so this partnership is an ideal way for us to promote our message that the work engineers do is creative, exciting, personally fulfilling, and making a difference in the lives of others."

The use of social media is important to the venture, both through the Design Squad Nation and Rocket21 sites and through other social media sites. More information on Rocket21 can be found by liking Rocket21 on Facebook at facebook.com and by following Rocket21 on Twitter at twitter.com. Viewers also can follow Design Squad Nation on Facebook at facebook.com and through Design Squad Nation’s Twitter feed at twitter.com.

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