Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
This week was Engineers Week, a national recognition of the contribution of engineering professions sponsored by Discover E, a group dedicated to increasing K-12 and public understanding of engineering careers. “E-Week” serves as a time to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers and bring engineering to life for kids, educators and parents. This year, Sain showed our love for engineering with our own line-up of events and community outreach in Birmingham.
Engineering Outreach at Local High Schools
Throughout E-Week (and in the next two weeks), Sain staffers visited local area high schools to give a presentation to students about the importance of engineering. On Tuesday, Jake Balentine and Alicia Bailey visited Mountain Brook High School’s Engineering Academy where students were very interested in a previous project Sain completed within the city of Mountain Brook, the Cahaba Road Roundabout.
Later in the week on Friday, Darren Hamrick and Kyle Johnson visited Thompson High School in Alabaster. They spoke to students about the different types of engineering and what the path to become an engineer looks like. For example, most students didn’t know that they’d need four years of work experience under a licensed engineer and passing the PE exam before they could be licensed. They discussed some of the differences between being a high school student and a college engineering student.
In March, Nathan Currie and Luana Broshears will visit The Altamont School to give a presentation on what civil engineering is and the different subsets of civil engineering such as structural, hydraulics, geotechnical, environmental and transportation.
Engineering Showcase at McWane Science Center
Jennifer Brown and Tony Montanaro represented Sain Associates at the McWane Science Center on Wednesday. The McWane Center hosted an Engineering Showcase in honor of E-Week 2017. The event hosted engineers from many different fields, such a civil, mechanical, structural, and biomedical engineering. Children were able to see how engineers make a difference in our world at the fourth annual event. Experts in the field were available to meet and greet visitors and show them what it means to be an engineer in today’s world.
Jennifer and Tony interacted with a group of students, primarily fifth graders, using a mock interstate interchange that Tony made out of foam core board, wooden blocks, and rope. Students had the opportunity to think through how to get traffic moving in different directions. They used the rope to create different interchange ramp scenarios.
They also spoke with students about roundabouts and how they can help improve safety at intersections. They demonstrated how roundabouts work and allowed students to participate in the demonstration with matchbox cars.
The McWane Science Center Engineering Showcase was an excellent opportunity to celebrate E-Week and to get involved with the community. Jennifer said, “We are both looking forward to participating in this event next year, hopefully, we’ll have even more interactive stations.”
Girl Day at Sain
On Thursday our female engineering staff hosted a group of 13 girls and three faculty advisors from Shades Valley High School for our annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event. This is the third year we have hosted a group for Girl Day and this one did not disappoint. We had a great group of students who listened attentively as Alicia Bailey, Luana Broshears, Jennifer Brown, and Becky White described their experiences as women engineers and planners. The students especially enjoyed a team building activity, and they participated with enthusiasm in a small group exercise designed to focus attention on four important aspects of roadway design: traffic operations, drainage, environmental impacts, and public involvement.
Looking Forward to Next Year
We had so much fun talking to students that we can’t wait for E-Week 2018. It was very encouraging to see so much enthusiasm for engineering from local students.