By Pat Sullivan, PE
On Thursday, February 21, 2019, Pat Sullivan, PE, an ASCE Region 2 Governor and a Past President of the ASCE Pittsburgh Section, visited Keystone Oaks High School to talk to a group of sophomores and juniors who signed up to learn about a future in civil engineering. Over the course of the 90-minute session, Pat and the 15 students discussed the various disciplines within civil engineering and looked at examples of each discipline. Pat also provided samples of a dozen construction materials, including engineered beams, steel angles and rebar, HDPE and PVC geomembranes and piping, woven and nonwoven geosynthetics, clay, gravel, sand soil samples and various sized stone aggregates. The students were given the opportunity to explore these materials and ask questions about each.
Additionally, the students were put through several math and engineering hands-on exercises that included calculating the number of M&Ms in a clear plastic cylinder (using engineering calc paper and mechanical pencils of course!), the connection and support of formwork used in the construction of concrete retaining walls, determining the distance between two objects using a transit (pre-GPS), and the construction of a truss bridge using nothing but popsicle sticks, binder clips and clothespins. Winners of the exercises received the cylinder of M&Ms, and two Starbucks gift cards were raffled off at the conclusion of the talk. Heather Scanlon, the Coordinator of Community Service & Career Readiness at Keystone Oaks High School, commented on Pat’s presentation. “It was wonderful having him! The students were actively engaged and really were excited to be working with him. He is welcome back any time!”
Pat was invited to present to the students by Scott Albert and Linda Handley who are volunteers of the UcanB Education Program that brings professionals who talk about their careers together with high school students interested in such careers. Heather Scanlon, the Career Readiness Advisor at Keystone Oaks arranged the presentation at the school. If you are interested in getting involved in high school outreach, or would like to have ASCE present at your local school, please contact ASCE Outreach Chair Brian Heinzl.
Pat is a Principal and the Water Resource Practice lead at Civil & Environmental Consultants in Pittsburgh, PA