Last Friday, October 14, we officially kicked off this year’s Innovate for Impact Program in partnership with the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) with teacher orientation at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary. Despite rainy conditions, approximately 20 middle and high school teachers toured the facility, learned about the needs of each special-needs and/or rescued animal and their enclosures, and were briefed on the structure and timeline of the school year-long program. We were there to provide information on the mentoring component that we are administering in partnership with PECG, including the upcoming Mentor Day on December 2 and the Engineering Help Desk for students. Two television media stations, CBS 13 and ABC 10, came out to cover the story and the afternoon and evening news segments featured interviews with PREP Board Members Mark Sheahan and Matt Hanson. See those news clips here. Over the next month and a half, students will take the same tour of the Zoo, decide on which animal/enclosure that they’d like to engineer an improvement for, and begin to design their projects in teams. On December 2, students are invited to bring their ideas and designs to PECG Mentor Day at the SCOE Office where approximately 20 state engineers and related professionals will be available to review their plans and provide constructive feedback. The day will also include a “networking” lunch for students with the engineers where they will be provided with incentives for asking questions about their professions and background.
On Friday, October 28, we will be hosting a TRAC Training for approximately 25 Sacramento-area teachers in partnership with SCOE. This training will focus exclusively on AASHTO’s Bridge Builder Module and preparing middle and high school students to enter and compete in our first State Bridge Building Competition on January 28, 2017. More information on the competition can be found at Bridge Building Competition.