Engineers inform, amaze WES student 'builders'

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By Lisa Statham Posteraro

Aren't volunteers great?

Thanks to the outreach program sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, employees from three engineering firms out of Gainesville recently showed up at Williston Elementary to share about what they do for a living. Ryan Harvey (Crom Corporation), Tiffany Davies (Wilson-Miller, Inc.), Rachel Conn and Matt O'Brien (Jones-Edmunds) made PowerPoint presentations in the school media center to members of the Enhanced Learning Program (ELP), the school's program for gifted students.

"We learned about the old Egyptian guy who supposedly was the first civil engineer [Imhotep, 2700 B.C.E.]," said fifth grader Cody Kellar.

Over the past several months, the students have learned about the various aspects of designing and constructing skyscrapers, bridges and domes through videos, research and hands-on projects. One of the services the ASCE provides is to encourage young people to enter the field of engineering by educating them about their work.

"I was so amazed there were so many types of civil engineers," said fifth grader Molly Brisendine. These guests explained about the many types of civil engineers through their slide presentation. They also showed slides of their respective companies' projects.

"We saw how exciting it can be to watch your creation grow," commented fifth grader Mackenzie Klein. Conn, the president of the local ASCE, and O'Brien even had shots of one of the Williston water towers and well. (The City contracts with this company for some of its needs.)

"They can have fun on their jobs," observed fifth grader Madisen Griffis.

Conn offered her services to return at a later date for some hands-on activities with the students. The students expressed their appreciation by sending handmade thank you notes to the volunteers.