Rich Templeton, Texas Instruments' (NYSE: TXN) president and chief executive officer, has been visiting engineering students at some of the nation's top universities, encouraging them to raise awareness of their field to next generation of students.

It's a great time to be an engineer, Templeton said at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, emphasizing that in today's connected world, local ideas can have global benefits.

You will make things happen, he said, that most people now think are impossible.

He emphasized the links between medical technology and healthcare, praising universities for fostering interdisciplinary approaches in collaboration and different ways of thinking.

Before the MIT visit, Templeton visited students and faculty at Georgia Tech and the University of Texas - Austin, encouraging engineering students to see their area of study as a foundation, not an occupation which can allow them to take on challenges in various fields.

You are the people with the most power to encourage the next generation, he said. You will be amazed at the influence you have in getting young people interested in engineering.