BRATTLEBORO >> A team of professional engineers from Stevens & Associates, P.C. recently volunteered at the Saint Michael School, working with 8th and 9th grade students to provide a project-based educational program.
The objective was to foster creativity and innovation for an anticipated 'green space' project, which will be located behind the school.
"At Stevens & Associates we focus on building our community through engineering projects, as well as, personal and company service," said Serenity Wolf, a civil engineer at S&A. "I love that I can share my passion for engineering directly with students and show them how we can make our community a better place by using math and science."
Civil and structural engineers from S&A collaborated with Elaine Beam, principal, and Joseph Milano, 9th grade teacher, at the Saint Michael School to highlight the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The program included lectures, a guided "site visit," open discussions on the "Elements of Design" defining challenges, building models of the proposed designs, and concluded with student presentations of each model. S&A's goal was to provide a platform for students to develop ideas on how to convert the open space currently covered in asphalt to a multi-purpose green space. An additional point was to inspire the students to achieve a sense of ownership toward the school's upcoming project and to expose them to the professions of engineering and design.
"We want our students to be good stewards of our planet," said Beam. "So, along with composting, recycling, and working to ensure that SMS is as green as possible, we want our students to be actively engaged in projects that will help transform our school. This partnership with S&A has provided an extraordinary learning opportunity for our students to put an idea into practice."
S&A received positive and thoughtful feedback from student surveys including "engineering could be an optional career for when I grow up" and "I learned there is a lot more to do than just sit in an office."
The students were particularly excited to work outside, create and present their models, and work with the S&A engineers.
"It is exciting to hear students talk about careers that they want to explore and know that they have successful professionals from their own community guiding them," said Beam. "It makes their classroom lessons tangible and fulfilling."
The next phase will be fundraising and reaching out to the greater community.
Explore Saint Michael School online at www.smsvt.info.
Stevens & Associates is an Architecture and Engineering firm specializing in the design and development of livable communities. For more information, visit www.stevens-assoc.com or call 802-257-9329.