Orange County Branch Newsletter
Secretary's Column - Class of 2014
By Steven King, P.E.
This past weekend I was honored to be a guest at the UCI commencement ceremonies celebrating the accomplishments of thousands of new graduates. This year marks the 5oth anniversary of the University’s dedication and a special celebration was set at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Chancellor Michael Drake introduced special guests including UC President of the University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and featured speaker President Barack Obama.
What I found most interesting about President Obama’s speech were the echoing themes of science, technology, engineering and math. ASCE has long been a supporter of STEM education by actively developing and promoting programs that broaden the use of math and science at all levels of education. STEM education provides a well-rounded educational foundation that’s essential for building a skilled workforce leading to economic prosperity across the nation.
Orange County’s K-12 outreach committee visits classrooms throughout the county giving presentations on engaging students with classroom activities on various engineering related topics. The committee hopes to extend its reach to teachers, administrators and PTA members over the next year to build relationships that can last for several years. ASCE members also participate in presentations outside the classroom at events like the Orange County Science Fair and Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Contest.
In addition to STEM, President Obama focused a great deal on sustainability, another one of ASCE’s primary advocacy topics. As civil engineers, we act as stewards of society’s infrastructure and it is imperative that we adopt sustainable planning, design, and construction methods. On July 11, the ASCE-OC Sustainability Committee will be hosting a workshop on agency implementation of sustainable infrastructure. Participants will hear the latest on Envision and efforts agencies including County of LA, Port of Long Beach, TCA and OC Public Works are taking to capitalize on sustainable capital improvements. In addition, the 2014 International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure is taking place November 6-8 in Long Beach. The conference will include a tour showcasing the Port of Long Beach’s Middle Harbor Terminal Redevelopment, the west coasts first automated container terminal.
President Obama made it clear, he believes this year’s UCI graduates will be part of the next generation of leaders and innovators that will reshape this country and reshape this world. Neither he nor I can wait to see what the young people today will be able to accomplish tomorrow to create a better society for us all.