Tyler Graybill and Nicole Baer, along with their construction team at Whiting Turner, had a fun opportunity to share their reasons for becoming structural engineers with high school students at Rockbridge Academy. A group of students joined them at the Port Covington Rye Street Market for a tour of the project and an insider’s glimpse of the engineering and construction industry.
Each person has unique reasons for pursuing engineering, but one thing is common to all stories. It was a special activity, a role model, or a hands-on introduction to the field when they were teenagers that generated that first spark of interest. Contrary to popular belief, structural engineers are not antisocial people confined to a cubical, running complex math problems in their heads all day! Structural engineers are active members of multi-disciplinary teams of architects, other engineers, owners, and contractors, working together to solve problems. We know this at Hope Furrer Associates, but on March 10th, we were excited to share this with a younger generation.
We think the students enjoyed it as much as we did. Says the head of the STEM Club, “We can’t thank-you enough for the extensive time you spent with us today. Listening to the conversation in the car on the way home, the students really got a lot out [of] it. They were surprised about how many different aspects there were to making the actual build happen. They really liked hearing about how everyone on your team ended up where they were – and they were relieved to have it reinforced that they don’t have to have it all figured out in high school. Some were really surprised to hear about aspects to working that they hadn’t really considered before, like the chance to be ‘in the field’ and how important it was for the structural engineers and the people in the field to be talking to each other. And they also noticed how much all the people they met seemed to like working on your team – they thought it would be a great place to work. (They also loved the free KitKats. Lol)”
We are grateful to be part of such great teams, and have fun projects to share, and we were just as impressed with the students. They asked engaging questions and showed genuine interest in what we do each day. We can’t wait to have them back for opening day!