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DDC Hosts Viewing of “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” for Navigate the Maze to Achievement, Inc.

DDC: Shoshana Khan, 718-391-1251,

(Long Island City, NY – February 19, 2020) The NYC Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) STEAM education initiative hosted 28 middle school and high school students today for a viewing of the movie “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” showing engineers and how they shape our world now and in the future. Designed to inspire young people to consider careers in engineering, and narrated by actor Jeff Bridges, “Dream Big” is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Today’s screening was coincides with National Engineers Week.

The students that participated in today’s viewing of “Dream Big” are part of Navigate the Maze to Achievement, Inc., a non-profit, enrichment program that prepares underrepresented and academically gifted and talented students for the Specialized High School Admissions Test and supports students socially and academically while in school.

“The youth of today are the future of tomorrow and we hope that today’s viewing of ‘Dream Big’ inspires students to further explore and pursue STEAM careers,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “We are thankful for NTMA’s continuous dedication to mentoring the students and for connecting students with mentors that align with their interests.”

“Every day engineers and professionals of the built environment respond to the changing needs of an increasingly globally-connected and diverse population to address the many challenges our society will face and ultimately to better the human condition,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis. “We hope that ‘Dream Big’ inspires today’s students and help them to understand that they have the power to change the world.”

Allison Shillingford is the Founder and Executive Director of Navigate the Maze to Achievement, Inc.

“NTMA has established a community of 115 students and those who participate in our program are supported with mentors and resources after they’ve gained entrance into a specialized high school. We hope to expand our network of mentors that is parallel to the interests of our students. Thank you to DDC for hosting us and showing us ‘Dream Big’ today to encourage and further educate our students about STEAM careers.”


Xaavi Verican is a tenth grader at Brooklyn Technical High School and is a member of Navigate the Maze to Achievement, Inc.

“My dad is an architect and I know that their contributions are important to well populated cities and through ‘Dream Big’ I learned that small cities also need well-built infrastructure and for day-to-day life. I want to be a software engineer and I enjoy the complexity and how important it is to incorporate sustainability

Adrianna Rentas is a seventh grader at Myra S. Barnes School (I.S. 24) and is a member of Navigate the Maze to Achievement, Inc.

“People are willing to help you and when you connect with the right people, they can help you to improve different things in the world. The movie ‘Dream Big’ shows the importance of building for everyone in every city.”


Gavin Blake is a tenth grader at Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design and is a member of Navigate the Maze to Achievement, Inc.

“In class I’m learning about the do’s and don’ts of building a house and we are starting to draft our own floor plans. ‘Dream Big’ made me think about various architectural designs that I can incorporate into my class projects.”

The students that participated in today’s viewing of “Dream Big” represented 10 schools across all five boroughs. DDC STEAM has organized six events so far and has presented the movie to over 500 students from schools in every borough since it was released in September 2017.

Other successful DDC STEAM programs include the ACE Mentor Program, Town & Gown and the High School Summer Internship Program, a six-week paid internship program for students interested in pursuing careers in architecture, engineering, building trades, public administration, business administration or information technology. Overall, DDC STEAM has engaged with over 3,600 students in various programs since its inception in 2014.



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 long-term vision 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, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 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