SEAONC SE3 would like to highlight the statement put out by the Structural Engineers Association of Washington's Diversity & Inclusion Committee in response to the ongoing violence against the AAPI community this year.
To our AAPI members:
The D&I committee of SEAW stands with you in light of the senseless and ongoing violence against your community. We want to acknowledge the trauma and pain the community is feeling. These events make us recognize once again that we need to do better: we need to be more loving, we need to treat everyone with respect, and we need to end the racism that feeds this violence. Please reach out to us if you need a safe space to talk through what has happened. We are here to support you through this time.
To our Non-AAPI members:
If you have an AAPI coworker, we encourage you to reach out and make space for them. Some guidelines for how to effectively make space in a conversation can be found here. Remember to not center yourself in the conversation (“something similar happened to me too….”) and to not jump into problem solving mode. If you don’t have any AAPI coworkers, take some time to evaluate why that is. We also encourage you to sign up for a free bystander training being offered this month. Your ability to distract and diffuse a situation could literally be the difference between life and death. Lastly, if you are in management, consider implementing some policies that can help your BIPOC employees deal with the ongoing effects of racism: talk about racism in the office, provide parking/travel reimbursements for employees who don’t feel safe taking public transportation, and provide flexible PTO mental health days when a community is attacked. Work doesn’t happen in a vacuum; we are all a part of this community together. It is our responsibility to keep our community safe, together.
SEAONC SE3’s 2019-2020 year, led by co-chairs Brenna Marcoux and Rachel Cohen, focused on a few main charges: diversity and inclusion, and mentorship. Following our diversity and inclusion launch event: Building an Inclusive Workplace for ALL in the 21st Century that took place in October, 2019 at AIA East Bay, there was a lot of interest from our committee and our SEAONC community in continuing programming around this topic. SEAONC SE3 views the topic of diversity and inclusion to be central to our mission. Mentorship has been a continued charge for our committee since we started. Each year we’ve hosted one to two speed mentorship events, and in 2018, we launched our Long-Term Mentorship program, which we continued last year.
While we were challenged by the Shelter-In-Place order in the Bay Area due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we adapted to provide virtual events and considered our programming to be crucial to the engagement of individuals in our industry, especially during the work-from-home period we find ourselves in. The protests and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd and many others at the hands of police this summer also refocused our committee’s efforts. We verbalized our commitments to racial justice and started a new subcommittee to carry them out.
SEAONC SE3 hosted a DEI leadership roundtable event on Thursday, October 29, focused on facilitating discussions among firm leaders in northern California about strategies to create a more inclusive workplace and address racial inequities in our industry. With the help of professional DEI consultant Viva Asmelash, we worked with participants to understand the importance of proactive DEI strategies at work and develop solutions and programs within their firms.
Thank you to Applied Technology Council, Arup, COWI, Degenkolb Engineers, Element Structural Engineers, Forell Elsesser Structural Engineers, FTF Engineering, Holmes Structures, KPFF, Liftech Consultants Inc., Maffei Structural Engineering, Martin/Martin, Pivot Structural Engineering, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, Tipping Structural Engineers, and ZFA Structural Engineers for their participation in this event. A best practices brief sharing lessons learned with the larger SE community will be coming soon on our website.
Thank you to Stacy Bartoletti, S.E. for highlighting the event in his January 2021 Editorial in STRUCTURE Magazine "Making the Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion"
The SEAONC SE3 Committee has developed a survey for current civil engineering undergraduate students with the hope of gaining an understanding of their experiences and what we as professionals can do to better support their career growth and development. We are interested in learning how these students first learned about engineering, if they have ever considered switching majors, whether they are considering pursuing a graduate degree, and if they plan to continue pursuing a career in engineering after graduation. The committee is also collecting demographic information (gender, race, Federal Pell Grant eligibility, and first generation status) to determine if there are any trends surrounding the engagement and retention of students of color that we can share with the professional community at large.
With this survey, we hope to answer the following questions:
Link to survey: bit.ly/3dKmaSe
Please share this link with your student connections and encourage them to participate in the survey. Thank you in advance for your assistance! We look forward to sharing the findings from this survey with the A/E/C Community!!
To carry out SEAONC SE3’s pledges related to racial justice outlined in our recent statement, we formed an expanded Racial Equity Task Group (formerly the Diversity & Inclusion Task Group) who will continue meeting regularly over the course of this year to plan events and engage in ongoing research projects. Currently, we are compiling research relating to Black representation in structural engineering at the university and industry levels, gathering contacts to make connections with university groups serving underrepresented racial minorities in engineering, and discussing events such as the DEI leadership roundtable and programming specifically for BIPOC engineers. Our CE Education Experience Survey has launched. Please forward to any current undergraduate civil engineering students you know. A big thank you to SEAONC Racial Equity Co-Lead Priscilla Nguyen for her work on this survey Please reach out to us if you are interested in getting involved.
Priscilla Nguyen, Hayley Proctor, Tiffany Hwang, Curtis Siegfried, Kaat Ceder, Brenna Marcoux, Rachel Cohen, Jen Ton, Jennifer Alviso, Melissa Patel, Emily Guglielmo, Lorena Arce, Natalie Tse
On June 12th, SEAONC SE3 sent an email to its distribution list to confirm its continued commitment to stand and fight in solidarity with the Black community and the Black Lives Matter Movement. In this message, the committee shared its pledge to take specific actions in the 2020-2021 SEAONC year related to research, organized programming for local universities, roundtable discussion with firm leaders and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultants, and a commitment to give Black members of our profession a platform at SE3 events.
This pledge followed with a "Call-to-Action" to all firms and individuals to contribute to creating a more equitable structural engineering industry.
The committee has recommended specific action items for firms and individuals, and made them available to the community on this website. To read the full statement and to download some resources on this topic, please visit this page of our website.
SEAONC SE3 is currently launching its second year of the SE3 long-term mentorship program. We invite all SF Bay Area structural engineers to participate in this program.
The 2020 SE3 LT Mentorship Program
This year, the committee will be forming "mentoring groups" consisting of four to six people, varying in years of professional experience (entry-level, mid-level, and seasoned professionals).
For our program, groups will meet roughly once every other month. Meetings will of course be done virtually (until the Bay Area Counties remove or reduce restrictions due to COVID and it's deemed safe to meet in small groups).
What's great about this set-up is that everyone can benefit, no matter how many years they've been working in the profession:
The matching process virtually, so mentoring groups can form over the next month.
If you're interested in joining, please go to this link and complete an application.
Please forward this along to any colleagues at your firm who you think would be interested and can benefit from this program!!
Thank you to committee members Alan Puah, Steve Earl, Sara Rahme, and current co-chairs Rachel Cohen, and Brenna Marcoux for all their hard work setting up this new program for our local community.
The NCSEA SE3 Committee is currently administering its third nationwide survey of structural engineers across the profession.
We invite all structural engineers in the United States to join the conversation!
Please take 10-15 minutes to submit a response to this year's survey. Every opinion is important to us.
The core mission of the SE3 Committee is to attract and retain the best and brightest into our profession; and to ensure all structural engineers have a clear pathway to success. The SE3 survey is an ongoing effort to identify trends, understand the underlying factors, and initiate industry-wide conversations.
EVERY structural engineer is invited to participate regardless of race, gender, age or job title. The SE3 mission applies to every structural engineer.
For more info, please visit the NCSEA SE3 Committee Site.
By Hayley Dickson
Diversity, inclusion, equity (our namesake!) are terms that might seem as inescapable (at least to me, as a past SE3 co-chair) in our cultural and political zeitgeist as they are polarizing. There are varying definitions and levels of understanding, and it can be divisive to even bring them up, let alone address any related issues. Why do we care? And if we care, how do we approach such a nuanced and touchy subject? If we can agree on that, what can we as structural engineers even do, in the small subset of the professional world that we occupy?
These are big questions with answers that will undoubtedly change over time as we learn how to live and work better, but we can start with the facts: this does matter. Our 2018 survey revealed that at each ascending position level, we grow less diverse. At the principal level, just 14% of respondents are non-white, and at the entry/staff level this percentage nearly triples. The numbers related to gender show a similar shift, with 16% of principal respondents identifying as female, increasing to nearly half at entry level.
Though the data shows promise of a diverse future, the picture is not entirely rosy. Those with identities outside the majority are significantly more likely to have experienced discrimination and harassment in the workplace. These are not isolated incidents to be dismissed, with numbers as staggering as 50% of women having experienced discrimination at some point in their careers. It’s meaningful to remember that half of the survey respondents are under the age of 35, so conceivably many of these women are facing discrimination early on in their careers.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee