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December 13, 2017

Over 160 Middle School Students Present Their “City of the Future” in Young Engineers Program Showcase

Six-week STEAM program exposes middle school students to potential engineering and architecture careers

Crystal Santos

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

The Young Engineers Program, administered by DDC’s STEAM division 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 City students to the fields of science, technology, engineering, architecture/art and math.

Students used green technology to build model cities that could withstand climate change including rain gardens, tower gardens, green roofs and solar power

For today’s Showcase, students modeled buildings, infrastructure, homes, bridges, public areas and streetscapes to demonstrate methods to withstand climate change and rising sea levels. This year’s curriculum for the Young Engineers Program, called “Building For Future,” 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 curriculum developed by DDC’s office of Community Partnerships and STEAM in partnership with Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone, a science educator and founder of Storefront Science. DDC helped train 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.”

“The Department of Design and Construction, the Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development have done incredible work together to engage young New Yorkers in creating tools and models for the future of our city,” said Miguel Gamiño, Jr., New York City Chief Technology Officer. “Now, more than ever, our City’s youth must have fair access to educational opportunities that will allow them to participate in a modern world and build the future of tomorrow.”

In its third year, the Young Engineers Program is also a part of Mayor Bill 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 curriculum 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.

“We’re excited to partner with DDC on the ‘City of the Future’ program,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “It’s so important to give our middle-school students opportunities to develop their interests and passions. This provides a great opportunity for our middle-schoolers to apply what they’re learning in the classroom, while also considering possibilities for their future that they may never have considered before.”

“As proficiency in STEAM becomes more important to the futures of our young people, DYCD-funded COMPASS afterschool programs have incorporated robotics and other STEAM curriculum into their programming. The knowledge that these students bring to the Young Engineers Program highlights the value of this collaboration with DDC and DOE—an incredible opportunity that taps into the imagination and creativity of our next generation of innovators,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

 “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.

 “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 advance underrepresented youth in 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.

"We are thankful for DDC's partnership with Jonas Bronck Academy (X228). Their Young Engineers' curriculum engages our eager students with exciting and relevant STEAM content while enhancing their technological literacy. By equipping our bright scholars with this 21st-century, technological language, we are inviting our students to be competitive throughout college and ready for our quickly changing marketplace. DDC's partnership with X228 is an invaluable asset to our students, our school, and community,” said LEAP Afterschool Deputy Supervising Director Monique Jarvis.

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; the Opportunity Academy, which is a career readiness program that supports minority-owned, woman-owned, and locally-based business enterprises; and programs that function in association with DDC’s Town & Gown program.

DDC STEAM is currently accepting applications for its High School internship program. For more information click here.

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

About the NYC Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is the largest school district in the US, serving 1.1 million students in over 1,800 schools. For more information, please visit

About the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development
The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) invests in a network of community-based organizations and programs to alleviate the effects of poverty and to provide opportunities for New Yorkers and communities to flourish. DYCD supports New York City youth and their families by funding a wide range of high-quality youth and community development programs, including: After School, Community Development, Family Support, Literacy Services, Youth Services and Youth Workforce Development.  For more information, please visit DYCD’s website.