Ever-Changing Field of Engineering

The Ever-Changing Field of Engineering 

by Kayla Hillegass

Kayla Hillegass 2

Engineering is a growing and ever-changing field of work full of problem solvers and go-getters. Yet everyone is not an engineer, which is why learning about a profession before jumping in headfirst is very important when making career choices. Taking part in engineering camps, engineer day events/activities, internships or other enrichment, allows students to learn more about the Engineering field and exposes them to this career more than an internet search could ever do. Some students might not have a close family member or friend that is in their field of interest, so these activities are great exposure to this career.

Everyone would benefit from some type of career exploration to help find their future path and to see how to keep on the road towards their preferred career. High school aged students make these important life decisions before graduation with many unsure or unprepared for life after high school. Exploration in college is an expensive way to decide their career path so internships before college gives students the opportunity to pursue their interests in different careers. Too often students change their major multiple times in college trying to decide what they want to do, costing them both time and money. Giving highschool students the opportunity to see job fields that interest them could help them decide if this is the field of study they want to explore in college.

Taking part in internships during college also helps further enhance the education experience and allows for translation from classroom to real world. Internships let employers impart their knowledge and experience onto a student in hopes that it can help the student decide what they want to do in their life (or not do). Even if the student determines that it is not the field for them, more often than not the people they interact with at a company might have connections or experiences in other fields of work. Networking is the key, so starting early and establishing interest in a field gives the students a chance to make connections with future employers and gives employers future potential employees. Having an early internship or job shadowing experience shows signs of maturity on the students' end to figure out their future career, which is an added bonus to employers especially for future internships or jobs.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher. I felt that it was the best profession to help people because I did not want to go into the medical field at all. It wasn’t until I did a high school project on a future career that I took a step back and realized that maybe I didn’t want to be a teacher, after all. After some encouragement from my parents (and them pointing out very obvious skills that I had in logic, problem solving, math, and science), I did my project on environmental engineering. The school project kickstarted more career searching until I realized that environmental engineering is just a small subset of the future degree that I would be pursuing at the University of Akron: Civil Engineering. I attended some engineering career days and a women in engineering, weeklong summer camp during high school, which further solidified my desireto be a Civil Engineer. Now entering my senior year at UA, I look back on all my internships and early high school engineering activities and can clearly see how beneficial they were in helping me develop as a young engineer and in helping me decide what I want to look for in my future career. I highly encourage high schoolers to explore careers that interest them and learn more about what you want to do with their lives.

 As I finish out my senior year and search for a full-time job, I know that my early engineering experiences and college internships have reinforced my career choice as a civil engineer.

A Connection With Purpose

A Connection With Purpose

By Rob Frutchey

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Our Construction Management Team for the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) has had the good fortune of interacting with Akron’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) students in the workplace, classrooms, and field trips.  Through these interactions I have consistently seen youth who are motivated and excited to learn more about the OCIT and how it will make a difference for the future of Akron and for our environment.  After much reflection, I have found myself inspired with the students’ deep and intent gaze as their inquisitive minds ask seemingly never-ending questions about the largest infrastructure project in Akron’s history.  I have truly been struck by their keen desire to be connected with a purpose; that is, these students express a sincere and meaningful interest to be connected with an important cause and mission. 

This is where the All-Akron Student Engineering Program (AASEP) comes in – providing an incredible opportunity for Akron High School students to feel connected to a purpose.  Through work shadowing, our AASEP students are exposed to projects that will ultimately protect public health and maintain water quality with the OCIT and Combined Sewer Storage Basins.  Students also worked on Akron’s Ronald McDonald House, a place that helps families live locally to access specialized medical treatment.  The OCIT, Combined Sewer Storage Basins and Ronald McDonald House are just a few examples – examples of projects where I saw Akron High School students interested in learning more, with a keen desire to understand how they could help make a difference. 

The AASEP opened my eyes to see a generation that wants to be connected with a purpose.  While that purpose may take many forms, it is clear that we have a generation that is ready to creatively define a better world.  Patanjali said “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds.  Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.  Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”  The AASEP provides hands-on opportunities for Akron’s High School students to see inspiration of such a great purpose, to see how their STEM career could ultimately help them make a real difference in Akron and our environment for generations to come. 

AASEP Student Reflection - Ray Mahanke

AASEP Worthwhile For Students 

By Ray Mahanke

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            Throughout the ten weeks that I’ve worked as an intern with the City of Akron, I’ve been exposed to a variety of engineering applications, and have also had the opportunity to continue to develop soft skills that will aid me in a countless number of other fields and positions. I’ve met an interesting variety of people, and have thoroughly enjoyed learning from them in every way I could.

            Rotating through five of the engineering bureau’s various divisions, I’ve seen a fair few different work environments and projects. I spent time in the municipal building, on High street, as well as the service center on Triplett boulevard. The differences between these two environments added a lot of variety to the internship, and moving back and forth between the two locations helped to keep my experience fresh and interesting.

            I was exposed to a variety of different positions in the field of engineering. This was easily one of the most beneficial parts of the internship. My goal in participating in this program was to expose myself to various fields of engineering, so that I could either find something that I was interested in, or, at the very least, have an idea of what I wasn’t. Being exposed to a wide variety of careers and fields helped me to achieve that goal, giving me a better idea of what careers I could work in should I obtain an engineering degree. The course of this internship was related largely to civil engineering, but I did learn a fair bit about surveying and construction alongside that.

            I continued to build upon soft skills, which I’d started developing in my previous internship last summer, throughout the course of the program. I gained more experience in office and laboratory environments, learning how to dress, speak, and behave in these areas. I began to learn the flow of information, as well as the critical importance of communication, from person to person, division to division, and agency to agency. These things, among many others, contributed to the development of my soft skills, which will look rather appealing on a resume, and make me a more attractive candidate for any position I’ll apply to in the future.

            The wide variety of people that I’ve met throughout this internship has also been beneficial. I’ve been introduced to a diverse group of individuals, and have, by speaking with and listening to them, been able to learn a lot about the engineering environment through their wisdom and experience.

            Ultimately, participating in the All-Akron Student Engineering Program, and partnering with the City of Akron for it, has been a wonderful experience. I’ve reaped a wide variety of benefits through the program. It’s been an excellent way to spend my summer, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone considering the program.

All Akron Student Engineering Program Student Profile

The All Akron Student Engineering Program summer internship is in full swing! We will begin highlighting some of our students over the next few weeks. Check back to see a glimpse of Akron's future as we highlight some of Akron's best and brightest!

 

Davyan Caldwell

 

My name is DaVyan Caldwell and I am partnered with G. Stephens, Inc. for a 4 week internship. This experience has been one of the best I have encountered. I have learned how to make schedules, rename documents and organize them, I have attended meetings, and I've gone on site visits. I also took a tour of the Akron Water Supply Plant. The Incredible staff I've had the pleasure to work with has made me feel welcomed and I will not forget this experience.

A Bird's Eye View

The Akron Waterways Renewed! program is a monumental undertaking.

Fortunately for us, the residents here in Akron seem to have a general interest in what's going on in our community. That interest makes it easier for us to spread the word and keep everyone informed.

When we launched this website, the goal was to use it as a tool to provide up-to-date information on what's happening with the program.

Today, we are upping the ante on "up-to-date" with live, around-the-clock streaming video of the Camp Brook Storage Basin (CSO Rack 12) and OCIT-1 construction sites.

This feature can be accessed below, or by using the interactive "Construction" tab from the AWR! homepage.

Camp Brook (CSO Rack 12)

OCIT-1

 

Where Does the Rain Go?

Img 5263Downtown Akron after a thunderstorm

We’re seeing a lot of rain here in downtown Akron. Have you ever looked out the window and asked yourself, “Where does it all  go?”

So, where DOES it go?

Rain that falls on our yards, streets, sidewalks, and driveways flows to the lowest point that it can. Hopefully that’s a storm sewer or driveway drain that ties into a storm sewer. It will travel through the storm sewer system to a receiving waterway, eventually making its way to the Cuyahoga River, Little Cuyahoga River, Ohio & Erie Canal or to the Water Reclamation Facility.

The rain on the roof trickles down to spouting, and make its way (hopefully) to the storm sewer as well.

What are some issues that this water can cause?

Wet Basements

If a lawn or driveway isn’t graded properly, water could collect at the walls of a home and find its way into the foundation, leading to a soggy basement. Clogged spouting could lead to a wet basement as well. If your spouting overflows when it rains, or if you have long icicles hanging from it in the winter, it may need to be cleared out. This is something that should be done a few times a year. Typically, trees are to blame for clogged spouting. Seeds in the spring and leaves in the fall land in the gutters and prevent water from flowing through them freely. Cleaning them out typically requires climbing a ladder. If you don’t feel safe doing this on your own, find someone who can help you or do it for you.

Combined Sewer Overflows

In a combined sewer system, high volumes of water may contribute to a combined sewer overflow, where clean water from rain and melting snow mixes with sewage from sanitary sewers. If the volume exceeds the capacity of the system, it overflows into a receiving waterway. The main goal of the Akron Waterways Renewed! program is to update our sewer system to help control these overflows. You can learn more about combined sewers and overflows here.

Clean Water Disconnects

Img 5269 Storm sewers collect surface water during wet weather

Another issue that could arise is clean water ending up in the sanitary sewer. This happens when clean water connections, such as driveway drains and spouting, are connected to the wrong sewer system; in this case, the sanitary sewer. The extra water in the sanitary sewer could contribute to an overflow. The potential for this overflow could be reduced if the water were to flow into the storm sewer instead of the sanitary sewer. Drains that still flow to the sanitary sewer instead of a storm sewer are more common in areas where there used to be a combined sewer but has since been separated.

This is currently an issue in Akron’s Merriman, Middlebury, and North Hill neighborhoods. New storm sewers are being constructed or considered in these neighborhoods as part of the AWR! program. The existing combined sewer will be separated and the storm water will drain to a storm sewer instead of the sanitary sewer. The City is conducting dye testing in these areas to verify that everything is flowing to the right place. Dye testing is non-invasive and testers won’t need to enter a home unless there is a sump pump in the basement. The City is bearing the cost of the testing and any improvements that need to be made to address the issue. You can read more about dye testing here.

If you have any questions about dye testing or the Akron Waterways Renewed! Program in general, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email at communications@akronwaterwaysrenewed.com.

New Towpath Trail Route

In our latest video blog, we take a look at the new route of the Towpath Trail during the construction of the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel!

Happy New Year!

New Year, New Look for AWR!

If you've visited our site before, you might have noticed our new, streamlined layout. Hopefully, you will find our site more visually appealing and easier to navigate.

20151229 151145 The Ohio & Erie Canal behind Canal Park

If this is your first time visiting akronwaterwaysrenewed.com, welcome! We're excited to tell you all about our program and the positive changes we're making to Akron's infrastructure and environment.

This new year is going to be a big one for our program. At the time of this post, we have active construction on five sites (You can learn more here), including the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel, which is not only the largest project under the AWR! program, but also the largest construction project in Akron's history. You can learn more about the tunnel here.

Thank you for visiting our site, and we hope you'll come back often. We're confident that it will be a great way to stay in touch with the residents of Akron, and anyone else who's interested in our program.

Happy New Year!

Video Blog: Mustill Store

In this post we visit The Mustill Store, which overlooks Lock 15 on the Ohio and Erie Canal.