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Engineers Week - Elementary School Day 2019

The American Society of Civil Engineers Los Angeles Younger Member Forum (ASCE LA YMF) and the City of Los Angeles kicked off Engineers Week 2019 by hosting Elementary School Day at Los Angeles City hall. Elementary School Day is the first event in our 5-day Engineers Week Celebration. Led by Brian Phan of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), ASCE LA YMF was able to invite over 170 students for a day of engineering fun and activities. /1 We hosted students from Angeles Mesa Elementary (CD8), Charnock Elementary (CD5), Carson Gore Academy of Environmental Studies (CD10), Pilgrim School, and Cold Water Canyon (CD2). Many of these students come from disadvantaged communities, low income, and title 1 LAUSD schools throughout the City of Los Angeles and were selected through their Council District Office.

As the students arrived at city hall, they were greeted with our amazing team of volunteers and each student got an Engineers Week T-shirt and were given snacks for the day. The students were then escorted into the City of Los Angeles Council Chambers where they sat in front of all Council members. For many, this is the first time they have ever visited City Hall and it was an exhilarating experience for them. All the students were then recognized by Councilmember Paul Koretz and he stated, “For the past five years the American Society of Civil Engineers has partnered with several City and County agencies to help put on the annual L.A. Engineers Week and I’d like to thank the American Society of Civil Engineers for their months of preparation and applaud them for their great effort. It gives me a lot of joy to know these students are Kindergarten through 12th grade will be participating this week, be inspired to pursue a career in the STEM field, which is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

Following the council member, City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering Deputy City Engineer, Ted Allen said, “Good morning, thank you Councilmember Koretz and the full City Council for having us here for Engineers Week, it’s great to be here. I’m representing City Engineer Gary Lee Moore, who unfortunately couldn’t make it… Engineering is more than just a job, it’s an opportunity to reshape the communities that we live, in our case the great City of Los Angeles. It’s very exciting to work for the City of Los Angeles…Gender equity is very important to us, it’s not easy because at college unfortunately we’re still not to 50% - which we would like to see - a 50% mark at college. So opportunities like this to outreach at a younger level, to encourage the girls and the boys to go into a rewarding job of engineering is great for the community.”

In addition, Councilmember Paul Krekorian said, “To all of the young people who are here I want you to look up and look around at this magnificent building that you are sitting in, and you’re going to see a lot of it today as you work your way around the building. I want you to keep in mind that it took an engineer to figure out how to build this building. And this is where the City Council of Los Angeles has met since 1928. When this building was going to be torn down because of earthquake concerns, it was an engineer, an immigrant engineer, who figured out how to replace the foundation of this building – one foot at a time by lifting up this building and replacing the entire foundation without tearing it down. It took a civil engineer to do that. So all of you who are here, I hope you’ll keep that in mind when you realize that engineering gives you an opportunity to leave a mark on the world around you and each one of you can do that.

So I hope you’ll enjoy your day here and I hope that you’re inspired to build a future career in science or engineering because we need you, we need every one of you. So welcome to City Hall and thank you very much for being here.”

With each and every proclamation from the council members, the students stood up and cheered to represent their school. They waved their engineering hard hats in the air and were filled with joy as each council member recognized the students for participating in Engineers Week 2019.

From then, the volunteers escorted the students on an engineering tour of City Hall and each school had the opportunity to visit their council member’s office, learn about the engineering features of the building, and even got to stop by the Mayor’s Office. Once the tours had finished, it was time for Engineers Week main event. Weeks prior to the city hall visits, ASCE visited each school and to help the students with their engineering projects. The students had a challenge to build an egg drop container that could withstand the fall off at 2 story high city hall Rotunda. In order to build a well-engineered device, the students were only allowed to use everyday household items such as plates, napkins, straws, toothpicks, tape, and cotton balls. The students have been working hard for weeks to prepare their egg drop devices and now had the opportunity to test their designs. The students gathered in the City Hall rotunda and cheered on other students as they dropped their engineered egg devices off the ledge and onto the ground. The room filled with cheers and roars as our volunteers opened their devices to find out whether or not the egg had survived. Overall, it was a great learning experience for the students and they all loved the event.

In addition to the egg drop event, we also conducted a Gum drop and Tooth Pick tower building activity for the students. Led by Marcelino Ascensio from City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering (LABOE), the goal of the activity was for students to build a 4 level tower out of gum drops and tooth picks and have its strength tested on our ASCE shake table. Many of the students were shocked that they could build such amazing structures with just gum drops and tooth picks Students participating learned the importance of using braces in their structures and engineering techniques to build the strongest structure.

We would like to give special thanks to the City of Los Angeles and give special thanks to all the council districts that supported Engineers Week 2019. In addition, we would like to thank City of Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering for being the day sponsor of Elementary School Day. Lastly, we would like to thank our Engineers Week Chair, Monica Morales of JACOBS for being the amazing lead for Engineers Week 2019.

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