Engineering the future during E-Week

This February, Olsson brought engineering to life for more than 2,600 elementary students throughout the country.

In honor of Engineers Week (E-Week), Olsson volunteers visited about 90 classrooms to lead a hands-on engineering activity for students. Together, we made bubble blowers, built bridges, and created earthquake-resistant structures. 

Surveys report that 74 percent of educators say students don’t have many chances to meet engineers. One purpose of E-Week was to engage kids and spark their interest in engineering. Fittingly, this year’s E-Week theme was “Welcome to the future.” 

Olsson partnerships specialist Sarah Mullen organized the classroom activities and hopes students learn how interesting (and fun) engineering can be. 

“It’s really rewarding to share with students what engineers do and how their work helps the communities they live in and go to school in,” she said. "I'm hopeful the students are having fun and learning about how engineering is shaping the future. Perhaps we've inspired a future engineer along the way.”

Olsson associate engineer Courtney Andrews enjoyed sharing her passion for engineering with a first-grade classroom. 

“I volunteered because hands-on STEM education helped develop my interest in science and engineering, which ultimately led me to be an engineer at Olsson,” Courtney said. “I want all students to have the same opportunity to find their passion and I am confident that these early interactions are critical to inspiring our next generation of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians.”

Olsson’s Katie Hertel volunteered in her daughter, Hannah’s, classroom in Texas. Katie said her favorite part was seeing the students’ creative ideas and teamwork.

“During the activity, it was great to see the light bulb go off and for students to connect the dots on what engineers do,” Katie said. “It’s not just magic that makes everything work. It’s people, and that person could be them. All the groups were very proud of how their structures turned out.”

The highlight of the activity for Hannah was working with her team to problem-solve and design the earthquake-proof structures. Her fourth-grade classroom split into groups to construct structures out of toothpicks and marshmallows.

“During the activity, I liked that we got to express our ideas, see how others think, and work together as a team to create a structure that could withstand the earthquake test,” Hannah said. “It was really fun, and I’d love to do it again.”

We believe today’s students – like Hannah – will engineer the future.

Sarah Mullen
Partnerships Specialist
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