Orange County Branch Newsletter

August 2011

YMF Outreach

Younger Member Forum - Career Day at McGarvin Intermediate School


By Karly Ho, OC YMF K-12 Outreach Co-Chair

The morning bell rings at 8am as a mess of students rush to their classes in every which way.  On Friday, July 10th, 2011, McGarvin Intermediate School was buzzing with excitement.  Regardless of the fact that it was a Friday or a half day (making each class only half an hour long), the students  came to class eager for Career Day, a day designated to learning about a different career in each class period.

American Society of Civil Engineer’s Younger Member Forum (YMF) came prepared to present about careers in civil engineering with volunteers Andrew Pham, Abby Fong, Tom Sandefur, and Karly Ho. Each class began with an icebreaker activity, treats, and special prizes for the activity winner including rubber duckies. 

The volunteers introduced themselves and broke up the class into groups of 4-5 students.  Each group, given 3 feet of tape, 4 paper plates, 5 plastic cups, and 8 disposable bendy straws, was assigned to construct the tallest free standing structure possible.  All of the groups discussed what to do while testing their ideas, then started constructing their vision.  Five minutes passed quickly and before you knew it, time to measure the tallest one would reveal who best met the challenge.

After a winning group was determined, the volunteers questioned the students about the activity- What did they have to do? Did they have to communicate? Did they have limited supplies? Did they have time constraints? Among the broad terms such as project management, construction, and design, the activity helped the students understand and relate to what civil engineers do.  The class ended with questions and answers.  Some students even stayed after the sessions to ask more questions. 

This continued for six (6) class periods where the record for the tallest tower stood at 54 inches. 

By second period, the entire school knew about the class giving out rubber duckies.  Not only did that prove the amazingly fast networking skills of middle schoolers, but it also kept the excitement going for the students of the next classes who were coming in to see some of what civil engineering was all about. 

The final bell rang after the exhausted volunteers had talked to over 200 students who got an opportunity to learn about what civil engineering

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