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What Does Kleinfelder's San Diego Team Have in Common with the US Women's Soccer Team and Beyonce?

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

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SAN DIEGO, California – Through participation in Tech Trek, Kleinfelder’s San Diego team shows girls they can build the world.

With the recent U.S. women’s World Cup win, we keep seeing those famous Beyonce lyrics: Who run the world? Girls! Kleinfelder staff are showing girls they can not only run the world, but also build the world, through our participation in Tech Trek – a one-week science and technology camp for girls.

Tech Trek is hosted by various branches of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at college campuses throughout the country and includes hands-on science and technology classes and opportunities to meet inspiring women role models in the STEM fields. AAUW of California coordinates the camp in San Diego, held at UCSD, and Kleinfelder’s Bridge Engineers Karibia Baillargeon and Aashka Vora, and Director of Corporate Services Linda Lannen, volunteered for the third consecutive year to teach girls just how they can build the world – specifically, bridges.

During four days of the camp, Kleinfelder’s team of volunteers hosted a workshop style class that began with a presentation on the field of civil and structural engineering, earthquake engineering, and an introduction to bridges. The first activity included a discussion on basic bridge design, types of bridges, types of loads and their effect on bridges. The girls were divided into teams of four, instructed to identify a project manager, and then given 18 flat wooden paint stir sticks to build Da-Vinci’s brilliant self-supporting bridge (used in medieval warfare). A lot of creativity went into weaving the sticks together to span a make-believe river; and the girls came up with some very interesting arch bridges.   

The next activity encouraged the girls to apply what they learned in the presentation by working in teams of two to build a minimum 1-foot-tall structure from toothpicks and gumdrops. Each team’s structure had to withstand a 30-second shake table test which mimicked ground movement during seismic activity. The team with the tallest and most stable standing structure was deemed the winner and presented with a goodie bag award.

The curiosity and level of engagement seen from the girls during the entire event marked the success of Kleinfelder’s involvement for yet another year. In addition to volunteering time and talent, Kleinfelder also sponsored three scholarships for girls attending the camp. For parents who cannot afford to pay for their daughters to attend Tech Trek, sponsorships from organizations and companies are imperative to the success of the program.

Just as the members of the U.S. Women’s National Team are inspiring the next generation of sports superstars, Kleinfelder’s staff who participated in this important STEM-focused camp are inspiring the next generation of female engineers.

Thank you, Karibia, Aashka, and Linda for being great role models in the San Diego STEM community! And thank you to the San Diego CoMET team for providing the shake table, and Terri London for providing the goodie bag awards!

About Kleinfelder
Founded in 1961, Kleinfelder is a leading engineering, construction management, design and environmental professional services firm.  Kleinfelder operates from over 60 office locations in the United States, Canada, and Australia.  The company is headquartered in San Diego, California.