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March 14, 2016

New York City Department of Design and Construction’s STEAM Education Initiative Presents ‘Introduce a Girl to Architecture, Engineering & Construction’ Day

Program celebrated female engineers during Pi day and Women’s History Month

Shavone Williams
Public Information Officer

Dan Leibel
Junior Public Information Officer

Long Island City—In celebration of Pi day and Women’s History Month, the New York City Department of Design and Construction’s STEAM education initiative hosted 20 female high-school students from two high schools located in Queens, NY (High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture and Robert F. Wagner Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology) at the 2016 Introduce a Girl to Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Day. This event was formed in an effort to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture/Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) related disciplines to young women and to establish an inclusive path for New York City’s youth into the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) fields.

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. It’s evident that there is a great disparity between the amount of men and women that get involved in the AEC field.

“I’m excited to have young women from the RF Wagner Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology, and the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture visit with us for our annual Introduce a Girl to Architecture, Engineering and Construction to learn about the great careers and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture/Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) fields,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “These young women will be the inventors and entrepreneurs of the future. Our goal is to expose them to the world of the built environment and the tools and framework to not only understands how things work, but also how best to make them work to the benefit of our society.”

During the visit, students learned how to use an Architect’s Scale to create blueprints, made translations from blueprints to models, and finally constructed scale models of famous New York structures such as the Brooklyn Bridge and One World Trade Center. Students also focused on designing the interiors of public buildings, such as police precincts, an EMS station and a library, using a material board. The young women chose materials based on the independent functions each option provided. For instance, one group chose carpeting in the reading area of their library juxtaposed with hardwood floors in their lobby to strategically mitigate noise in the building.

The students also participated in an empowering panel discussion with four female professionals who hold positions in various disciplines of architecture and engineering. The panelists included DDC’s Administrative Project Manager of Public Buildings, Jade Bailey, DDC’s Infrastructure Design Engineer, Gabriela Lara, DDC’s Safety and Site Support Coordinator, Shefalee Patel, and DDC’s Chief Architect, Margaret Castillo. Students mentioned that the discussion broadened their understanding of Engineering and helped link scientific and mathematical concepts to practical scenarios in the work place.

“STEAM careers are the jobs of the future and young women need to be prepared if they are to succeed and compete in the 21st century global economy,” said DDC Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis. “Educating girls in the STEAM professions will put them on a path to success.”

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, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $10 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