A Connection With Purpose

A Connection With Purpose

By Rob Frutchey

Robfrutcheyakrontbm082017 Resized

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. 

5 comments for “A Connection With Purpose”

  1. Gravatar of Jared Jared
    Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 2:12:24 PM

    I had a great time being a member of the AASEP! I highly recommend this program to any student who has an interest in a STEM career. This program is a great way to be introduced to the many dynamics a STEM career has to offer. The opportunities provided are unmatched and are very beneficial to a high school student looking for a way to better themselves.

  2. Gravatar of MinjiMinji
    Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 8:49:32 AM

    I never had the kind of experience presented by AASEP in my high school years; looking back, I know it would have been nothing but beneficial. As a college student, what I want is to understand the "purpose" of the things I study, and connect it to the real world. Allowing high school students to see things firsthand and understand the impact it makes on their community is such a great step to making that connection. In addition, it is encouraging to know that so many high school students are passionate about making a difference in their communities.

  3. Gravatar of KristineKristine
    Posted Wednesday, September 27, 2017 at 9:16:10 AM

    This is terrific that OCIT leadership has taken the time to create this opportunity for students--especially high school students. They must end up realizing that anything is possible when they see the impossible (digging a tunnel) happening right in front of them!!!! Nice job OCIT!

  4. Gravatar of Fred BonaiutiFred Bonaiuti
    Posted Friday, September 29, 2017 at 11:06:13 AM

    I had the fantastic opportunity to work on the OCIT Project as an assistant field engineer and I was amazed by how many things I could be able to learn in 4 months. I am junior at the University of Akron and while working on this project, I could be able to experience what I have been learning at the university and much more. There is not a correct way to explain how beneficial is experiencing what you are studying in school and what you are interested on. I wanted to also say thank you again to you Rob and all the construction management team (Parsons, Welty, Thomarios) that guided me through this incredible experience. Great Program (AASEP), great project, great post!!!

  5. Gravatar of SeanSean
    Posted Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 6:59:26 AM

    I'd like to say I was one of the lucky college students at the University of Akron who got to be apart of the OCIT project in the spring of 2017. This project might seem long because it goes on for a few years, but it will come and go in the blink of an eye relative to Akron's history. Also it will be primarily underground so people won't be constantly reminded of its impact as a skyscraper or other monumental construction project would on a city. I'm so glad I happened to be in the right place at the right time to be apart of this project. I know I'm not making too much sense right now, but my point is, if you are interested in construction and can find a project that involves a tunnel boring machine, do it. They are an awesome experience but they come and go fast.

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