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December 16, 2016

“Young Engineers Showcase” at JHS 8 in Queens Caps off DDC STEAM Education in 2016

STEAM’s Programming in Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture/Art, and Mathematics reached almost 900 students for the year

Shavone Williams

Dan Leibel

Queens, NY – The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today hosted its Young Engineers Showcase at JHS 008 Richard S. Grossley in Jamaica, Queens, highlighting the work of 26 middle school students in the school’s STEAM education initiative, a DDC program that introduces City students to the fields of science, technology, engineering, architecture/art and math. The event is the final STEAM event in 2016, a year in which almost 900 students participated in some part of STEAM’s programming – about double the number than 2015.

Melissa Ward shows off her engagement ring
Students at JHS 008 in Jamaica tested their model cities to understand the fundamentals of environmentally responsible urban design and runoff as part of DDC’s STEAM education initiative.

“The Young Engineers Program grasps students early in their education to open their eyes to new career opportunities and inspire them to be the urban planners and architects of tomorrow,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “We help students think critically about the built environment and the concepts of sustainability, equity, resiliency, and healthy living that are driving the next generation of public design. Along the way, we instill confidence in their ability to do advanced math and science. DDC will continue to seek ways to expand its work with public schools throughout the City.”

Students in Young Engineers participated in a six-week course that taught fundamentals of environmentally responsible city planning as it pertains to public buildings and infrastructure. The course used framework from the “Engineering is Elementary: Don’t Runoff” curriculum, created by the Museum of Science in Boston, which introduces students to new and emerging technologies that will help counter the effects of stormwater runoff in natural bodies of water such as the East River, Hudson River, Lower New York Bay and Atlantic Ocean, which can be negatively affected by stormwater that mixes with sewage or litter on City streets.

“The 26 Queens students whose work was recognized during today’s Young Engineers Showcase have made our Borough proud,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Many young people have benefitted from the DDC STEAM Education Initiative, an invaluable program for our City to develop the next generation of engineers, architects and urban planners if we are to remain globally competitive in the 21st century. The New York City Department of Design and Construction, led by Commissioner Peña-Mora, deserves to be commended for undertaking this important initiative for our City’s future.”

"The success of the STEAM program has given our young scholars the confidence they need to enter the math and science industries of the future" said City Councilman I. Daneek Miller. "These [young] men and women are on their way to accomplishing much and I cannot wait to see it."

“This wonderful program is an incredible educational resource that is helping to cultivate the next generation of STEAM innovators by tapping into the imagination and creativity of young  people across the City,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong. “I congratulate the young engineers at JHS 008 in Queens whose exposure to the jobs of the future builds on the growing momentum of Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture/Arts and Mathematics activities in afterschool.”

The Department for Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has worked with DDC to identify schools considered at high need for additional resources in STEAM education. The Young Engineers pilot program was launched in March 2014 through the LeAp afterschool program at MS 22 Jordan L. Mott in the South Bronx, a renewal school where 100% of students qualify for free lunch, 21% are special education students and 21% are English language learners.

Since 2015 there have been 1,260 middle school, high school, and college students who have participated in various educational programs coordinated by DDC’s STEAM division. In addition to the Young Engineers Program, the STEAM initiative offers high school internships; college internships; enrichment programs geared towards middle schoolers; mentorship for students interested in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries; the Opportunity Academy, which is a career readiness program that supports minority-owned, woman-owned, and locally-based business enterprises; as well as programs that function in association with DDC’s Town & Gown program and the Department of Youth and Community Development.

The STEAM initiative also hosts one-day events to give youth exposure to ideas related to urban landscape and design. One such program is the “Introduce a Girl to Architecture, Engineering and Construction Day,” which is organized to present young women with perspectives that encourage them to get involved in these fields of work and study. Women comprise only 34% of the total number of employed professionals with doctorates in the field of engineering, according to the National Science Foundation. Additionally, males are eight-times more likely to enter college with a plan to study engineering than their female peers according to the Higher Education Research Institute.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit