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December 13, 2017

DDC’s Young Engineers Program - Building the Future Showcase

On December 13th, over 160 NYC public middle school students concluded a six-week Young Engineers Program with a presentation of their “City of the Future” models at the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. Students in this fall’s program came from Hamilton Grange (M209), Washington Heights Academy (M366) , Jonas Bronck Academy (X228), the Albert Einstein School (I.S. 131), and the Joseph B. Cavallaro School (I.S. 281). 

The Young Engineers Program, administered by DDC’s STEAM Initiatives, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) and the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), teaches the fundamentals of environmentally responsible city planning as it pertains to public buildings and infrastructure. DDC STEAM works through various programs to introduce students to the careers in science, technology, engineering, architecture/art and mathematics.

Students modeled buildings, sewer and water treatment infrastructure, homes, bridges, public areas, plazas and streetscapes to demonstrate methods to withstand climate change and rising sea levels. This year’s curriculum for the Young Engineers Program, “Building For You,” emphasized the structural characteristics of 3D shapes, bridge engineering, constructing with I-beams, creating building models and green technologies such as bioswales, tower gardens and green roofs.

The Building for You curricula was developed by DDC STEAM in partnership with Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone, a science educator and founder of Storefront Science. DDC also provided Professional Development training to DOE and DYCD staff on the new curriculum.

“DDC’s Young Engineers Program is exposing the next generation of engineers and architects to rewarding career opportunities that are in high demand,” said Acting DDC Commissioner Ana Barrio. “Our goal is to show students the world of the built environment through hands-on learning and thanks to our strong partnership with Department of Education and Department of Youth and Community Development, we’re able to achieve that goal.”

“In support of Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a strong and just city, we are proud to collaborate with DOE and DYCD to provide educational opportunities to underrepresented youth in the STEAM related fields. The Young Engineers program is an example of our commitment to mentoring and preparing our young leaders for future careers in the built environment.” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Lee Llambelis.

In its third year, the Young Engineers Program is also a part of Mayor de Blasio’s Middle School Afterschool Initiative that is working to close the achievement gap in communities across the city. DDC facilitates the series of STEAM–related curricula in DYCD after-school programs with the goal of increasing early learning opportunities for underrepresented youth in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Architecture, and Mathematics) professions.

“The Young Engineers program is a model of STEAM education that can, and should be replicated far and wide. These young people are not just experiencing math and science in different ways, they are also learning how to problem solve like engineers, to think critically, and learn the ever-important skill of working collaboratively with a team.” said Science Educator Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone.

Since launching in 2014, DDC STEAM has engaged more than 1,800 students from middle school to college in STEAM programming. In addition to the Young Engineers Program, STEAM offers high school and college internships; enrichment programs geared towards middle schoolers; mentorship for students interested in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries; and Opportunity Academy, a career readiness program that supports minority-owned, woman-owned, and locally-based business enterprises. 

Group photo with students from ASPIRA I.S. 131, LEAP NYC from Jonas Bronck, Joseph B. Cavallaro School from I.S. 281, The Hamilton Grange School, Washington Heights Academy
Anthony Martin, STEAM Coordinator helping students from the Hamilton Grange School set up their City Models.
Students used green technology to build model cities capable of withstanding climate change; features included bioswales, tower gardens, green roofs and solar power