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Gingerbread Contest with the Whittier School
Marissa DeCarlo is a fifth year civil engineering student from Westchester County, New York. She has completed three co-ops and is involved in multiple student organizations including being Vice President of the Northeastern chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (NU ASCE).
NU ASCE started hosting a gingerbread contest internally a few years ago as a way to engage student members in a fun, civil engineering related activity. The event was such a success with students and faculty that it has turned into an annual event. Mr. Lento from the Whittier School in Everett had reached out to us about how we organized our competition as he was looking to teach his students more about engineering. After hearing how excited he was to expose his students to engineering, we looked into ways of bringing his students onto Northeastern’s campus to meet and work with our civil engineering students. It was a great chance to connect young students to Northeastern and to teach them more about engineering.
When the students arrived to campus in the morning, the day started off with a presentation about engineering and then focusing in on civil engineering. From there we were able to explain to the students the rules of the gingerbread competition, the civil engineering principles behind it and then they started building their own structures. Joel Shaffer, a NU ASCE student officer, said “I was really impressed by how engaged the students were and the buildings they created. I even picked up on some tricks I wanted to incorporate into building my own gingerbread house!” After a morning of gingerbread house building, the students got to put their houses to the test in the shake lab in the basement of Snell Engineering. Led by Professor Mishac Yegian, the students chanted and cheered as their houses experienced the forces of an earthquake and ultimately ended up in pieces strewn across the lab.
The most rewarding part of the day was seeing the smiles on the student’s faces, their excitement and hearing that they want to not only come to Northeastern but also study civil engineering. NU ASCE is looking forward to continuing this relationship with the Whittier School in future years.