Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2019


Designing the Present, Building the Future

By Marionne Lapitan | ASCE OC CSULB YMF Liaison

ASCE Orange County civil engineers served as professionals and volunteers during the 2nd Annual ASCE CSULB Dream Big: A K-12 Civil Engineering Outreach Event on Saturday, October 19th. The event was hosted by the ASCE California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Student Chapter, where over 240 students from local schools across Los Angeles and Orange County experienced the world of civil engineering through hands-on workshops, lab tours, a professional panel, and a screening of the Dream Big: Engineering Our World film!

ASCE CSULB Dream Big 2019 Students

The event was in partnership with the CSULB Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) K-12 Program, ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum, and ASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum. Each of the student workshops were hosted by student engineering organizations, which included ASCE Student Chapters (CSULB, UC Irvine, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Northridge), CSULB Society of Women Engineers, CSULB Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, CSULB Engineers for a Sustainable World, Chi Epsilon (CSULB and UCI), and CSU Fullerton Institute of Transportation Engineers.

ASCE CSULB Dream Big Students and Volunteers

The student workshops featured the various civil engineering disciplines and at least one professional engineer who provided the real-world application of the activities performed during the workshop. The workshops included:

  • Design-Build Cardboard Box Activity
  • Critical Load (Playing Cards) Challenge
  • Manual Water Filtration Workshop
  • Safe Landing (Egg-Drop) Challenge
  • Water Pipelines Workshop
  • Soil Mechanics Activity
  • Traffic Jamz Workshop
  • Popsicle Stick Bridge
  • LEGOMan Challenge
  • Foil Boats Challenge
  • Spaghetti Towers
  • Lab Tours (Environmental, Geotechnical, Surveying)
    • Water Purification Demonstration
    • Liquefaction Demonstration
    • Total Station and Automatic Leveler Exercise

Design-Build Cardboard Box Activity

In addition, seven out of ten of the professional panelists for the middle school and high school students were ASCE OC engineers! They discussed their journey towards becoming a civil engineer and the opportunity to continually make a difference in the field. The students were able to ask questions ranging from earning a degree in engineering to overcoming challenges to redefine the industry.

Middle School Professional Panel

Michael Baker International and Diaz-Yourman & Associates also served as sponsors for the event which helped provide the necessary funding for food, supplies, and volunteer shirts. The students also received goodie bags with school supplies such as pens, notebooks, flash drives, etc. donated by multiple local civil engineering firms: Mark Thomas, Jacobs, Huitt-Zollars Inc., AECOM, Michael Baker International, Cordoba Corporation, Caltrans, and the City of Anaheim.

ASCE CSULB Dream Big Volunteers

Overall, the event was a huge collaborative effort, and we are grateful for all the university students and professionals who hosted, organized, and volunteered for an event that has made a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of students in our region for the second year in a row. We look forward to continuing to participate in this event for years to come and further inspire the next generation of engineers!

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming involved with K-12 events, please feel free to contact

For future ASCE CSULB Student Chapter events, please contact or

About the Author

Marionne Lapitan is a Civil Associate in the Transportation Department at Michael Baker International. Actively involved in various professional organizations, she is passionate about designing and building communities, both structurally and socially. She aims to make a difference in the world through civil engineering in hopes of building a brighter future for the next generation. She also enjoys traveling, graphic designing, and reading books in her free time. Marionne can be contacted via or LinkedIn.


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