10 Engineering Schools Changing the World

College is more than just what goes on in the classroom.

It also provides a powerful, unrivaled laboratory fostering groundbreaking developments in research, technology, and new ideas.

In fact, a number of schools have produced innovations that have tremendously impacted every area of technology in the world as we know it today – automobiles, energy, data science, engineering, and more.

Without the power of higher education’s minds and resources, many of today’s greatest innovations would not exist.

How is higher education so good at changing the world every single year?

It is through student-faculty collaborations as well as financial resources totaling, at some schools, hundreds of millions in research expenditure.

When powerful brains have the essential capital required to develop new ideas, amazing developments changing the world naturally take place.

So how does a school make this particular list?

Each school on this list – their faculty, resources, students, and/or extension programs –  showcase significant innovation positively changing their own communities as well as those throughout the world.

For this particular list, we are focusing on STEM-prominent schools and programs.

Also, in a commitment to showcase a diverse set of institutions, all listed schools here are outside the US News Top 100 national university ranking.

Here are 10 amazing schools changing the world.

10. Wentworth Institute of Technology (Boston, MA)

photo by Martina10 via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to civic engagement and innovation for their community, few schools demonstrate the same excellence as Wentworth. 

In 2007-2008, 1,800+ students provided an amazing 116,000 hours of service to local communities through their Center for Community and Learning Partnerships. Wentworth’s contribution to the Greater Boston community earned them a prestigious Carnegie Classification in 2008.

Wentworth has impacted the world through their Social Innovation Lab, a 12-week program addressing issues that matter outside of academia in the real world. Some recent projects include the designing of a vest helping patients undergoing transfusions, creating a product assisting visually impaired people, and increasing engagement at a local zoo. 

Incorporated in May 2012, Wentworth launched Accelerate, a center designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship for their students. Since launching just seven years ago, an impressive 5,500 students have participated in this special initiative


9. Kettering University (Flint, MI)

photo by Bryan Duggan via Wikimedia Commons

Kettering has had an unusually large influence in the world of engineering and business.

The university is named after Charles Kettering, former head of research at General Motors. As an inventor himself, Charles Kettering created the modern-day cash register as well as the automobile self-starter. 

The school has since produced alumni who have further changed the automobile industry. Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors Company, is a 1985 graduate of Kettering who played a significant role in shaping the trajectory of today’s most popular cars.

Additionally, the school has four SAE (Society for Automotive Engineering) teams who compete internationally for awards in most innovative vehicle designs.

Experiential education is central to the STEM mission at Kettering. To this end, Kettering is home to the Innovation Center, a 9,000 square foot facility opened in 2010 designed to aid entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. This entrepreneurship incubation center has provided a significant upward trend for the economy of Flint, Michigan.

Kettering is the #1 school in all of Michigan for “return-on-investment” by a significant margin when considering average 20-year net ROI.


8. Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, MO)

photo by Nebraska Puffer Fish via Wikimedia Commons

Missouri S&T is one of the most amazing engineering institutions worldwide directly impacting the technology we use everyday.

One of Missouri S&T’s most impressive research facilities is their nuclear reactor, an operational plant that, in 2017, produced almost 9,000 kilowatt hours of energy with a half-gram of uranium. This unique, one-of-a-kind facility is used for research as well as teaching classes of college and high-school aged students.

Another facility on campus is the Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory. This space produces significant innovations for a number of companies through the school’s Electromagnetic Compatibility Consortium, including IBM, Huawei, Sony, Apple, Sony, and Intel.

Other innovative projects students are involved in include research in aero-vehicles, solar cars, robotics, and even Mars rover engineering; for this final category, Missouri S&T won 1st place in a 2017 national competition for their take on a functional Mars rover. 

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