Orange County Branch Newsletter

July/August 2016

K-12 Outreach

Orange County Science & Engineering Fair


ASCE Orange County Branch's (ASCE OC's) K-12 Outreach Committee has been working on growing our relationship with the Orange County Science & Engineering Fair (OCSEF) to assist with improving the engineering element of the Science and Engineering Fair.  Last year ASCE OC Branch in partnership with ASCE OC Younger Member Forum gave prizes to the top three student projects that were Civil Engineering related.  This year the committee didn't have a champion for OCSEF and no prizes were given out to students. However, ASCE members Greg Henk, Bart Patton, Matt Jabbari, Gary Gilbert, Jeremy Squire, and Pardaman Sawhney participated as judges during the OCSEF held at the Orange County Fairgrounds on April 13th.  This year was the largest group of ASCE OC members i have seen participate.

ASCE OC and OCSEF have a shared objective, which is to educate junior high and high school students about the engineering profession.  Recently, engineering concepts have been added to the curriculum of Orange County schools and teachers are looking for professionals to provide guidance on what topics should be included in the teaching of engineering principals.  One area that ASCE has already discussed with several teachers is to have a project where the student doesn't just develop a thesis and have an end result, but instead come up with a concept and perform several iterations to refine the concept.  The subtle differences between how science is taught and engineering is explained to students could have a significant impact on the students understanding the concepts.

The K-12 Outreach Committee members have developed multiple programs and interaction with OCSEF is just one of the areas in the annual activities.  Since none of the members are solely focused on growing the relationship with OCSEF, the communication and activities between the two groups have been inconsistent.  To address the inconsistencies with the K-12 Outreach Committee's activities with the OCSEF, we are looking to set up a sub committee with people assigned to specific tasks so we can do more that previous years.  We are looking for members to help coordinate the following activities

  1. Share judging opportunities with ASCE members and track members who participate in OCSEF activities.
  2. Coordinate the annual prize from ASCE OC to recognize the top Civil Engineering projects during the OCSEF
  3. Find new areas were ASCE OC and OCSEF can partner and arrange meetings between the K-12 Outreach Committee and OCSEF

In addition, OCSEF has identified the following areas where they would appreciate ASCE OC's assistance with:

  1. Liaison between OCSEF and ASCE for volunteers as judges, mentors,  ask a scientist night programs, etc.
  2. Committee member to restructure the OCSEF engineering category and promote same to increase number of engineering projects in OCSEF.
  3. Develop several engineering “grand challenges” to stimulate engineering design projects in the OCSEF
  4. Help organize an “Adopt a School” program where scientists and engineers go into the classroom once or twice a month to support the school science and engineering fair program, talk about science and engineering as a career, etc.   See TOPS (Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science) of Santa Clara Valley.   Volunteers perform experiments and demonstrations as well as help teach earth, life and physical science.  The website ( http://www.topsofscv.org), has more than 50 procedures and lesson plan presentations available to teachers and the general public.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the ASCE OC and OCSEF activities, please contact [email protected]

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