Students get a glimpse of engineering through Portland District’s 2016 Engineering Day

Students watch as engineers explain the forces at work on a crane while its lowering a building section for installation on The Yards construction project. The tour of the active construction site was one of four tours that were part of Portland District’s 2016 Engineering Day activities. (Photo by Amber Tilton, Corps of Engineers)

Students watch as engineers explain the forces at work on a crane while its lowering a building section for installation on The Yards construction project. The tour of the active construction site was one of four tours that were part of Portland District’s 2016 Engineering Day activities. (Photo by Amber Tilton, Corps of Engineers)

 

By Jeff Henon, Public Affairs Office

More than 70 area high schools students got a glimpse recently into the world of engineering at Portland District’s 2016 Engineering Day event.

“It’s important to bring our students into the real world and see what they’re working towards,” said Cyril Stokman, event co-chair.

The day was a blend of workshops and construction site tours, each one intended to spark interest. Corps engineers and mentors led conversations, encouraging students to ask questions.

Jack McCollister, a mechanical Engineer in Training in HDC's Turbomachinery Section, demonstrated hydropower concepts to high school students during Portland District's 2016 Engineering Day event. During his presentation, he addressed the height of the water in the reservoir and the flow from that reservoir in terms of available or ideal hydropower. The turbine shaft included a tachometer in order to approximate the power captured by the turbine and express the efficiency of the device. (Photo by Amber Tilton, Corps of Engineers)

Jack McCollister, a mechanical Engineer in Training in HDC’s Turbomachinery Section, demonstrated hydropower concepts to high school students during Portland District’s 2016 Engineering Day event. During his presentation, he addressed the height of the water in the reservoir and the flow from that reservoir in terms of available or ideal hydropower. The turbine shaft included a tachometer in order to approximate the power captured by the turbine and express the efficiency of the device. (Photo by Amber Tilton, Corps of Engineers)

“If you ask a question to a person you not only learn about the person’s job, but also how they feel about their field, If they get really into it,” said Jessica Blair, a senior at Woodland High School in Washington. “Like the guy who explained 3D modeling, you knew he was into it because he kept going on about it and he loved it. It was so cool.”

This year’s event included visits to active construction sites in the Portland area. Project superintendents from Andersen Construction led students through four construction projects: the Cosmopolitan and 8L, in Northwest Portland, The Yard in Northeast Portland and Loca in Southeast Portland. Design engineers explained to students how the building was designed and project engineers explained how on-site work is managed.

In addition to the hands-on workshops and site visits, students were given the opportunity to talk to representatives of various engineering firms during a mini job fair sponsored by the Society of American Military Engineers.

“The job fair gives students the chance to talk to a variety of professional engineers,” said SAME representative Heidi Nelson. “It gives them a perspective that they wouldn’t otherwise have just being in a classroom.”

At the end of the day students’ feedback indicated the information and activities gave them what they need as they begin to plan for their lives after high school.

“It’s exciting, just thinking that I can make the future better, I can possibly change something,” said Blair.

“I love engineering,” said Kyle Ledda-Lewaren. “There’s a whole wide world of engineering that you can experience and just so many places you can go.”