As part of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Los Angeles Younger Member Forum’s (LA YMF) Engineers Week 2019, High School Day was held on Thursday, February 21st at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works Headquarters (LACPW). The event brought together over 150 high school students from 5 different schools including Diego Rivera Green STEAM Academy, Hamilton High School, John Marshall High School, Pilgrim High School, and Schurr High School. Students from each school were selected based on their involvement in engineering related clubs and general interest in pursuing STEM careers.
The fun-filled day started with welcome’s from ASCE LA YMF’s Past President and High School Day Lead Ruwanka Purasinghe of LADWP and LACPW Deputy Director Rosanna D’Antonio. Ruwanka discussed the purpose of Engineers Week, while Rosanna discussed the roles and responsibility of LACPW to the community, and what engineers do for the County. From there, Howard Lum of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) gave a great Engineering 101 discussion to the students regarding engineering careers, engineering majors in college, and what they can do now in high school to help prepare themselves for a successful career in engineering. The next of our two remaining presentations was given by Mayra Cabrera and Christopher Rave of LACPW on the recent Southern California Wildfires and how engineers at LACPW were addressing the relief efforts and future mitigations. The last technical speaker of the day was Dominique Butler who serves as a NASA Space Ambassador. Dominique discussed current NASA projects and how the students can relate modern pop culture to space exploration.
Apart from the technical presentations, the day including a fun structure building contest using gum drop candies and toothpicks. Students were asked to design their own structures and test them on a shake table that would simulate earthquakes, which are a common design task of structural engineers in California.
Additionally, 3 scholarships were given out to the top students who participated in an Essay Contest which asked students to write about how Los Angeles can achieve 100% renewable energy. The winners including Anthony Carrillo, Smah Riki, and Joshua De Toro, all which attend John Marshall High School.
Lastly the day concluded with an Engineering Fair with several companies and universities hosting booths for the high school students to get more information on potential colleges to attend and engineering companies.