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STEM student created model for Future City competition of 100% electrically powered city
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DLR Group Engineering Volunteers Strengthen Future City Competition

(LOS ANGELES, February 19, 2024) – Leading up to February’s Engineering Week, 30 DLR Group engineers volunteered at the Future City Competition, a hands-on cross-curricular educational program that brings STEM to life. This year, Future City challenged middle-school students to research, design, and build models of a 100% electrically powered city, which were presented at regional competitions held at colleges across the United States.

The firm’s engineers moderated and judged eight regional events. They were impressed to see several patterns in the students’ model cities that align with real-world challenges the profession is working to solve.

“We saw many teams excited about an all of the above livability strategy, which matches DLR Group’s belief that the climate crisis is so urgent we need to explore all solutions,” says Structural Engineering Leader Danny Akhiam. Structural Designer Geoff Leewaye, who co-led the firm’s national volunteer effort with colleagues Electrical Designer Sophia Piatczyc and Structural Designer Julianna Burke, agreed. “This generation has seen the volatility created by dependence on one source of energy, so many teams were thinking about redundancy. Most groups presented at least three power generation options, which meant that their cities could be adaptable depending on what resources were available.”

The firm’s engineers were also encouraged by many teams’ focus on water. Conversations about electrification often happen in silos, failing to recognize that water typically accounts for 30% of cities’ energy usage.

Across the board, the students’ technological fluency was admirable. Carbon capture, tidal power generation, solar building skins, and other complex emerging technologies were explored. The firm’s engineers walked away feeling encouraged about the future of the profession.

Volunteering at Future City is the latest mentoring outreach effort in a robust firm-wide program that is focused on building an inclusive next generation of engineers. Other recent partnerships include Compton Unified School District’s STEAMfest; DiversityxDesign Block Party; GenesisSTEAM; Girls Exploring Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; and NOMA’s Summer Camp program.

DLR Group Senior Principal and Brand Communications Manager andy ernsting
For media queries, please contact: Andy Ernsting, Brand Communications Leader

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