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ASCE OC President's Column: Sparking Interests

The beginning of April marks the beginning of the second half of my tenure as President of the ASCE Orange County Chapter. As many know, I started my journey with ASCE several years ago, participating primarily in the Environmental and Water Resources Institute. From there, I found opportunities to extend my reach to other areas, including participating in University Outreach presentations, K-12 opportunities, and eventually volunteering at the Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition. Through the people I met and the connections I made along the way, I eventually found my way to the Executive Board, where I now have a bird’s eye view of all the different opportunities ASCE Orange County offers its members.

At a recent Branch luncheon, I took the opportunity, as usual, to run our introductory slideshow that delivers a peek at upcoming events but also showcases the Board Members, Institute Chairs, and the YMF Board. Looking around the room, I saw a diverse crowd that had gathered for the monthly lunch. Although I have always understood that ASCE has a wide offering of committees and institutes, I felt the need to get that message out. There is a place for you in ASCE, no matter what your expertise, interest, or specialty. The Orange County Branch has six active Institutes to choose from: Environmental and Water Resources, Transportation and Development, Construction, Geo-Institute, Structural Engineering, and Utility Engineering and Survey. Each institute offers the ability to network within a specialized community of people with similar interests as well as technical and educational programs.

As I write this, I am freshly invigorated from our latest Branch Board Meeting that also served as a Mid-Year Check-in with the Institutes. New and different ideas were discussed, and we ended the evening with an overall goal of working together to create high-quality programs that appeal to a broad audience, encourage networking opportunities, and showcase new and emerging technologies. At the Board level, we will increase our collaboration with the Institutes and find ways to explore how the individual areas of focus intersect with others to create a successful project. In fact, I’m taking it as a personal challenge to see if we can come up with a stellar program that highlights elements from each of the disciplines represented by our six Institutes!

I hope this article sparks your interest; if you are looking for a way to get involved, be sure to check out one of our Technical Institutes as a way to get started!  



About the Author:

Jennifer Marks is a Vice President/Environmental Services Team Leader at Psomas and the 2022-2023 President of ASCE Orange County Branch. Jennifer can be contacted at


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