September 24, 2008; Boston, MA –Nitsch Engineering, Inc., a Boston-based civil engineering firm, recently hosted its 7th annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. Titled “Saving the World, One Drop of Water at a Time,” this year’s event educated attendees about water resources, and was co-sponsored by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission and the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Eighty-six 6th to 12th grade girls participated in this year’s event, which was held at the New England Aquarium, making it the largest Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day event that Nitsch Engineering has ever held.
The girls started the day with an icebreaking activity that introduced them to different types of water, then split into groups to participate in four activities: one showed how development can affect a waterfront area, one discussed how sewage accumulates and is treated, one allowed each girl to test the pH level of a different type of liquid, and one used an Enviroscape® model to illustrate how water travels across a landscape.
As part of the activities for the day, the girls were also presented with corrosive chemicals examples and asked to test the pH level of each one. A discussion then took place where the attendees debated potential storage solutions for these hazardous substances. In the water industry, many corrosive substances are used in the workplace on a regular basis. Consequently, to minimize any potential harm, it is vital that the next generation is made aware of how to store corrosive substances in a safe manner.
The day culminated with a panel discussion about working as an engineer. Moderated by Chelsea Christenson, PE, a Senior Project Engineer at Nitsch Engineering, the panel included perspectives from five engineers who work to preserve water resources
- Danusha Chandy, PE, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Project Director: Danusha manages system-related planning, engineering, and environmental projects and programs at BWSC. She tries to find innovative ways to utilize new technology in traditional projects, prepares implementation plans for existing and new policies, and makes recommendations for capital improvement projects (water, sewer, and drain) that anticipate future needs. Prior to her current position, she was a Project Engineer with the environmental engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. for seven years. Danusha graduated with a B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University in 1999 and obtained her Professional Engineer’s license in 2005.
- Erin Venezia Joyce, PE, LEED AP, Nitsch Engineering, Project Engineer: Erin grew up in the Finger Lakes town of Canandaigua, New York, located about 30 miles south of Rochester. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2003 from Syracuse University with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering. She is experienced in site development engineering and has a strong background in land surveying including field work, research, calculations, estimating, drafting and design. Erin has an in-depth understanding of green building practices and principles, which she enjoys applying to her wide range of projects. Erin is a member of the Urban Land Institute and a member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Programs Committee.
- Michelle DiBenedetto, EIT, LEED AP, Nitsch Engineering, Project Designer: Michelle graduated two weeks ago cum laude from Northeastern University, majoring in Civil Engineering and with a minor in Business Administration. After completing her first two internships in Connecticut, she began working with Nitsch Engineering in July 2007 as a co-op student and is starting as a full-time employee later this month. She is looking forward to the start of her professional career at Nitsch. During her time as a co-op, Michelle worked on a variety of civil/site design projects. She is very familiar with many computer programs, including AutoCAD and HydroCAD.
- QinRui Pang, Nitsch Engineering, Co-Op Student: Qin is a civil engineering co-op student at Northeastern University and is expected to graduate in May of 2011. She came to Boston in 2002 from QinHuang Dao City in the Hebei province of China. Qin was an orientation leader for international students for this year’s incoming students at Northeastern, and is a member of Northeastern’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section (BSCES). Qin is interested in further focusing on environmental or transportation engineering.
- Kaitlyn McCartney, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineering Student: Kaitlyn is a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) class of 2009, where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical and Ocean Engineering. During the summer after her freshman year, Kaitlyn worked at MIT’s Sea Grant Laboratory, doing research in underwater acoustics, as well as profiling the water in Mystic Lake, one of the highly utilized lakes in the area. This summer, Kaitlyn will be working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering lab. Kaitlyn attended Nitsch Engineering’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at Logan Airport in 2005.
About Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day
Started by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and IBM in 2001, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day aims to increase interest in math and science among girls. Now organized by the National Engineers Week Foundation (http://www.eweek.org), Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day has become a global event, reaching over one million young women each year.