Technical Curiosity vs. Bicycle Path Anticipation

They’re curious, energetic, and eager to learn — and some of them aspire to be engineers. How better to show Westchester Community College students where their careers can soar than by inviting the state’s biggest project to their school?

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare talks about the cable-stayed bridge's shared use path/NNYB Outreach

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare talks about the cable-stayed bridge’s shared use path/NNYB Outreach

“We were a generic group, college freshman who live in the county,” Success Team advisor Lori Murphy explained. “They (students) lie in the county, and the bridge will impact them.”

The six-year-old group “exposes students to new ideas, careers, and experiences on and off-campus,” Murphy said. “It’s about service to the community and service to the school, which was bringing project officials to WCC.”

“The New NY Bridge is a once in a lifetime project and we want it to inspire local students at all levels from graduate school and college down to elementary classrooms. The goal of our educational outreach effort at all levels is to use this historic infrastructure project to inspire the next generation of bridge builders here in New York.” — Brian Conybeare, Special Project Advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo

 Murphy, who lives on Long Island and hadn’t seen the bridge’s progress, was pleased with the presentation and its attendance.

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare learned about WCC students' varied interest in the new bridge/NNYB Outreach

Special project advisor Brian Conybeare learned about WCC students’ varied interest in the new bridge/NNYB Outreach

“I was a little unsure who would come since it was during common hour (Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), when there were no classes,” Murphy said. “Brian and (Educational Outreach Administrator) Andy (O’Rourke) were willing to come even if they had five students.”

Success Team member Luis Blanco felt the presentation was very well designed. “It was interesting that, apart from being a really impressive engineering project when finished, the bridge effort is also trying to help the local community while it’s being constructed.”

Engineering Club advisor Kary Ioannou, P .E., said his students were very interested in the project, especially since “they’re trying to figure out where they’ll work when they graduate.”

While they were excited to learn about the nuts and bolts, the nitty-gritty of how the bridge will be built, Murphy said, “My students wanted to know about the path, that they could bicycle across the new bridge, and the viewing platforms.”

Courtesy New York State Thruway Authority

Courtesy New York State Thruway Authority

Ioannou’s involvement with the bridge project goes back to his days as Greenburgh Town Engineer. “I’m excited about it, too, and what they’re doing, and about their approach.”

His prior work in the private sector introduced Iaonnou to design-build. “It’s great to see the bridge being built, and jobs being created. My students were looking at jobs that are available and are positive about finding work.”

WCC’s two engineering programs — engineering science, from which students transfer to a four-year degree program, and engineering technology (covering civil, mechanical, and electrical), a two-year curriculum that prepares them for work — enroll part and full-time students.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2014

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