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Kimley-Horn Employees Engage and Educate Students through Engineers Week Events

Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, Engineers Week is an annual event during the last full week of February. Engineers Week was established with the purpose of “ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce” while recognizing the impactful accomplishments of engineers around the world.

For the 2024 Engineers Week, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) San Jose Younger Member Forum (YMF) celebrated their first-ever Engineers Week by hosting three outreach events for more than 300 students in the local area. Elementary Day, Middle School Day, and Girl Day each consisted of presentations, hands-on activities, and tours that helped facilitate meaningful connections between volunteers and students.

Kimley-Horn was a proud sponsor of the 2024 ASCE San Jose YMF Engineers Week, and our employees, Cheston Cheung, P.E., Karina Huete, EIT, and Rowyn Wreggit, P.E., volunteered at these events. Serving as one of the co-chairs, Karina also helped plan and coordinate the entire Engineers Week!

Fostering Community Outreach and Connections

Karina has been involved with ASCE San Jose YMF since 2020. Last year, she was the chapter’s community outreach chair—a position in which she coordinated and planned events for local community members. However, even before her involvement with ASCE, Karina has been dedicated to giving back through leading and organizing outreach events.

Karina Huete, EIT

Karina Huete, EIT

“Inspiring the next generation of future engineers through hosting and coordinating educational events is my passion. Growing up, I did not have these opportunities. Many of the students who attended Engineers Week come from similar backgrounds to me, so I wanted them to be able to hear from someone like me who has found success pursuing a career in engineering and inspire them to do the same.”

The planning for Engineers Week began in October 2023. Karina, alongside two other ASCE chairs, Andrea Mosqueda and Amer Zreika, dedicated countless hours to coordinating the event, connecting with local schools, and contacting potential sponsors.

“Our goal for Engineers Week was to expose disadvantaged and underrepresented students of all ages to the field of engineering and engage them in a fun and meaningful experience across three days of events.”

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Engaging Elementary Students

Karina not only helped coordinate Engineers Week, but she also led Elementary School Day—which more than 50 elementary school students attended! To kick off the event, Karina gave a keynote presentation on her journey to becoming a civil engineer and what her role as a civil analyst on the aviation team at Kimley-Horn looks like.  

“I shared my journey with the students because I still pursued a career in engineering despite being told that I couldn’t do it. Now, I have a career that I love and was able to share more with the students about my passion for aviation.”

Children learning about engineering in a classroom

Then, the students participated in an engaging hands-on activity that focused on the fundamentals of structural engineering. Students constructed towers out of toothpicks and marshmallows—and each tower’s structural integrity was put to the test on a makeshift shake table, with only the strongest towers surviving.

Mentoring and Motivating Middle School Students

Karina also helped lead Middle School Day—alongside Andrea and Amer—which was attended by 55 middle school students. Held at the Valley Water District Office, students heard from Assistant Officer Luz Penilla from the Office of Integrated Water Management. Luz talked about her career journey and shared advice about the lessons she has learned along the way.

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Students then heard from other industry professionals, toured the Valley Water campus, and participated in a hands-on activity designing a water filter out of various materials, such as pinto beans and cotton balls. Through this activity, students learned about different filtration media and their capabilities.

Cheston Cheung, P.E., volunteered at Middle School Day, an opportunity that combined three of his greatest passions: civil engineering, teaching, and serving the community.

Cheston Cheung, P.E.

Cheston Cheung, P.E.

“What I enjoyed most about this event was engaging the young, formative minds of budding middle school students and planting seeds of interest in civil engineering and STEM through the activities and presentations. It was a time well spent, and I enjoyed getting involved with the local ASCE YMF chapter and the future generation of engineers!”  

Growing the Next Generation of Girls in Engineering

More than 150 middle- and high-school students participated in Girls Day, and our teammate Rowyn Wreggit, P.E., had the opportunity to volunteer at the event. A member of ASCE San Jose YMF, Rowyn was excited to support their first Engineers Week.

Rowyn Wreggit, P.E.

Rowyn Wreggit, P.E.

“Throughout the event, girls of all ages came together to listen to women engineers share key advice, participate in hands-on engineering activities, and tour San Jose State University. It was incredibly fulfilling and inspiring to see these girls collaborate with one another, connect with women in the industry, and learn more about the field of engineering. As a woman in engineering, it reinforced how much diversity and representation matter.”

What’s Next for Emerging Engineers?

Members from ASCE San Jose YMF were thankful for the great success they had during Engineers Week and are excited to reach more students through events in years to come.

At Kimley-Horn, we are passionate about educating, inspiring, and providing opportunities for underrepresented students. We are excited to continue supporting our employees’ efforts toward mentoring diverse emerging engineering professionals.

Interested in making an impact with Kimley-Horn? Learn more about our career opportunities here.

Photos provided by ASCE


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