Mt. Tahoma High School Classroom Visit!

Our team recently visited Mt. Tahoma High School to speak with students in the Pre-Engineering program.

In collaboration with Burgess Design, the class visit was dreamed up by Jim Burgess, of Burgess Design, and Shavonda Simmons, a teacher in the Pre-Engineering and Engineering Design program at Mt. Tahoma High School. When discussing the possible career paths for students with an interest in engineering and design, they had the idea to bring design professionals in to tell their stories. Burgess reached out to Civil Principal Steve Porter and the rest is history! We were thrilled to participate!

The goal of this visit was to expose students to career options, ensuring that there were paths presented that do and do not require a four-year degree. For Coughlin Porter Lundeen’s part, we highlighted engineering opportunities (civil and structural) as well as the technician opportunities in Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Students were divided into nine groups and rotated through three, 15-minute stations: architecture, engineering (civil and structural), and BIM/Virtual Reality (VR) coordination.

Civil Project Engineers Bailey Cook and Naomi Medley joined Structural Project Engineer Kelly Lowe to discuss civil and structural engineering. While our team started off with the same outline for each session, every group of students had different questions and topics that they wanted to explore. “Out of all the questions, my favorites were when students wanted examples of where they could physically see engineering. They wanted to know where in their school and in their communities were civil and structural engineering components. ‘Is there a detention system at our school?’ or ‘Where can I look for an example of bioretention or a green roof?’ They were looking to make connections in their own lives, which is exactly what inspired me to become an engineer. Seeing our projects through their eyes was the best reminder of why I love what I do.” – Naomi Medley.

Our team also led the BIM/VR station. With the assistance of Structural Associate Marie Ternes, Technology Specialist Joel Hills, guided students through a VR session showcasing one of our Central Washington University projects. “We talked about how those who specialize in BIM work hand in hand with engineers on a daily basis and are integral to every design project. Many students expressed an interest in this option and were curious about what kind of education it would require after high school. They also had so much fun in the VR headset!” – Marie Ternes.

“Teaching high school students to use VR for the first time is like giving them the keys to a new world. It’s so much fun to watch them step into a virtual building and explore the architecture. With VR as their guide, they learn to think beyond the physical, to see spaces with new eyes, and to design with innovation and imagination.” – Joel Hills.

It was such a pleasure collaborating with Burgess Design and hope to return to the classrooms of Mt. Tahoma High School soon!