November 29, 2018
DDC: Ian Michaels, 718-391-1589
Long Island City, NY – NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) field staff worked with DDC’s STEAM team today to help thirty-five young women from Bronx Design and Construction Academy and the Bronx International High School present their public building designs as part of STEAM’s “Introduce a Girl to Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Day.” The AEC program is in its fifth iteration at DDC.
“Many of these students may believe that technical careers are only for men, but DDC STEAM introduces them to lucrative job opportunities they hadn’t considered before,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “It’s also rewarding for DDC staff to help young people, and guide them toward a better future.”
“Educating girls in the STEAM professions will put them on a path to success in the jobs and careers of the future. If young women are to compete in a global 21st century economy, they’ll need to be prepared and start their journey to success early. We’re thrilled to be a part of that journey,” said Lee Llambelis, DDC’s Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives.
The 35 students worked in teams over the course of the program to collaboratively create public building designs as three dimensional models. For today’s event, the students were tasked with presenting their designs and original ideas.
DDC’s Alanna Soszynski-Lauter, an Assistant Program Executive in DDC’s Public Buildings Division, and Madeline Skoblik, a Resident Engineer in the Infrastructure Division, were on hand to assist the design groups and provide insight into DDC’s building guidelines and design principals. After lunch at a Q & A session, the students asked them about their respective career paths, experiences working in the AEC fields and their insights on working in a predominately male-dominated industry.
“This was my second year working with the STEAM team to introduce architecture, engineering and construction to young girls throughout the City. It’s so important to bring these skills and careers paths directly to young girls, since they’re not normally taught in a traditional classroom setting or promoted from a young age. When I was these student’s age I was very uneducated about architecture being a career path. I did not have the resources in my upbringing that would directly lead me to this profession,” said Alanna Soszynski-Lauter, who graduated from the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College of New York in 2016.
“This year at the Bronx Design and Construction Academy I was inspired to see how many young women already had a peeking interest in the design and engineering fields. But it’s very important for them to see a real example of someone who was in their shoes not long ago,” she said.
Madeline Skoblik, whose work as a Resident Engineer for DDC includes the reconstruction of Astor Place Plaza in Manhattan, said, “I love volunteering for STEAM events because it’s an opportunity to peak someone’s interest in these professional fields. A lot of the kids don’t know what the day-to-day looks like for someone working in engineering or construction, and they don’t know the steps that they should take to get to where I am. I’m trying to be a positive influence and a unique representative of civil engineering, especially because I am young and I’m a woman.
“I hope that they connect with my story and it inspires them to dream big and pursue whatever their interests are. Growing up, I was always encouraged to develop my strengths, which happened to be in math and science. I never felt like I couldn’t go into those fields, but not everyone is lucky enough to have that influence. We are ultimately trying to make an impact on the kids they may not get elsewhere,” she said.
DDC STEAM was launched in 2014 to create a diverse and inclusive pipeline for young New Yorkers interested in careers in architecture, engineering and construction, and has engaged more than 2,800 students citywide, nearly half of them young women and more than 1,800 of them from City middle schools. STEAM programs for students grade 6 - 12 include the Young Engineers Program and the ACE Mentor Program. STEAM also offers high school summer internships and helps to coordinate DDC’s college and graduate summer internship program.
Across the country, women make up half of the workforce but hold less than 25 percent of the jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additionally, the Higher Education Research Institute found that men are eight times more likely than their female peers to enter college with a plan to study engineering. Engineering opportunities are expected to grow in the U.S. by eight percent through 2024 and average wages in those fields are nearly double what non-STEAM careers pay, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
DDC collaborated with Grant Associates, whose mission is to create and tailor solutions that help build workforce capacity. In partnership with the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Readiness (OPSR), Grant Associates has embarked upon a multi-year initiative to strengthen and expand CTE programs and services.