New El Paso Younger Member Group hits the ground running
by Daniel Carrera, PE
The ASCE El Paso Branch Younger Member Group (YMG) is fairly new as it was officially established in October 2020. Being new, in addition to being limited to virtual events, proved to be a challenge at first. However, once the wheels got rolling, things got busy (and fun!) mostly thanks our passionate Younger Members.
Volunteer opportunities included: presenting to local high schools about Civil Engineering; assisting with Math Fairs for elementary-aged children; helping the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) ASCE Chapter with their volunteering opportunities, showing support by joining their general meetings and offering virtual workshops and happy hours; and participating in Virtual Happy Hours hosted by the YMG, UTEP, and ASCE Dallas. El Paso YMG found that interacting with other Younger Member groups and the UTEP students was fun and overall beneficial to all groups. We partnered with the UTEP Alumni Mentorship Program (AMP) to have an ‘Amp Night’, an event in which UTEP alumni interact with the students in a panelist-type of setting.. Also, as part of Introduce a Girl to Engineering day, the El Paso YMG put together a video showcasing women engineers across El Paso talking about their experiences.
Donation opportunities included partnering with the Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) El Paso Chapter to donate food, toys, paint, and other donations to The Salvation Army of El Paso and donating close to $800 of food donations to an orphanage in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in partnership with the ASCE El Paso Branch.
Most ASCE El Paso Chapter members were born and raised in El Paso. El Paso is a very close-knit and friendly city whose roots are located at the University of Texas at El Paso and along the Rio Grande. UTEP alumni are located all around the country and are very proud to represent UTEP and El Paso. ASCE El Paso members who did not attend UTEP take a lot of pride in El Paso – a city in Texas that is usually mentioned thereafter the likes of Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, but is steaming with lots of talent, love, and friendly people that love helping others. That love for helping others and giving back to the community is what fuels the ASCE YMG in El Paso.
Before the pandemic in January 2020 and before the YMG was officially established, members participated in the LEGO League competition, promoting STEM for children. Children presented environmentally-friendly communities that they worked on as a team and YMG members served as judges. The YMG also assisted with the FIRST Robotics Competition at a local area High School in El Paso.
The YMG presented to area High Schools virtually about what Civil Engineering is. In addition to talking about the career itself, members talked about their own experiences and offered advice to students. Presentations were met with much enthusiasm by the high school teachers and students! Teachers were so impressed that they asked the YMG to come back and present. Presentations happened throughout numerous districts around El Paso.
The YMG also assisted with MathMazing Math Fair, an event hosted by El Paso Community College talking about the importance of math in every-day applications. This event was held on Pi Day! YMG members assisted with teaching children about how Pi is derived, performing sample calculations, and answering questions by children.
The YMG held numerous Virtual Happy Hours with other YMG members and UTEP students, including one happy hour that occurred before the pandemic. YMG members answered questions from students, played games with students and had a lot of fun. The bridge between the UTEP Student Chapter and the ASCE El Paso Branch was definitely strengthened by holding events like this, in addition to joining their general meetings and helping with UTEP’s general volunteering events. The YMG also held several workshops for UTEP students including how to prepare for interviews/resume critique, and a workshop for transportation engineering and structural engineering programs. These workshops were very helpful for students.
The ASCE El Paso Branch, Younger Member Group and Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) El Paso Chapter partnered up to donate numerous items to The Salvation Army of El Paso. In addition, the ASCE El Paso Branch and YMG donated close to $800 of food donations to an orphanage in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The YMG partnered up with the UTEP Alumni Mentorship Program (AMP) to hold a three-day virtual AMP Night, an event in a panelist setting, bringing UTEP alumni together for three nights. UTEP Alumni talked to the students about their experiences, as well as answered questions. It was a very successful three nights and alumni from all civil engineering disciplines were present to talk to students.
The El Paso YMG put together a video, as part of Introduce a Girl to Engineering day, showcasing women engineers across El Paso talking about their experiences, hurdles and giving advice to girls and women interested in pursuing engineering. It was a video shared by many across El Paso, including media outlets!
As things slowly get back to normalcy, the El Paso YMG plans to stay active in the community and keep growing. It has definitely been a challenging crazy year for many, but engineers are known to find a solution to things when things get difficult. The El Paso YMG plans to start holding in-person events very soon and always welcome members from other YMGs across Texas to join their virtual events. Stay safe!