SEAONC SE3’s 2020-2021 year, led by committee chair Tiffany Hwang, was held online for its entire duration. Despite the challenges of creating virtual-only SEAONC programming, the committee focused on carrying out SEAONC SE3’s pledges related to racial justice outlined in our June 2020 statement through the newly formed Racial Equity Task Group, and continued our efforts through the Mentorship and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) task groups. The SEAONC SE3 Committee had a very productive year, having expanded its network by connecting with professionals and advocates throughout the state, hosted several successful virtual events, and continued to develop new resources that contribute to our mission to advance the profession.
Our 2020-2021 committee highlights are as follows:
Firm Leader DEI Cohort Program
Starting in February 2021, SEAONC SE3 hosted a yearlong Firm Leader DEI Cohort Program, led by Hayley Proctor, Brenna Marcoux and Curtis Siegfried. In this program, 16 SEAONC firm leaders met monthly in three cohorts and met quarterly with facilitator Viva Asmelash to discuss topics related to DEI recruiting and hiring practices, inclusive office culture, engaging employees in public service/DEI efforts, and developing DEI-conscious leaders.
Speed Mentorship Events
In August 2020 and June 2021, SEAONC SE3 hosted virtual Speed Mentorship events, led by Brenna Marcoux and Karen Vogt-Wilcox, respectively. Students, interns, and entry-level engineers all met with one or two mentors in three breakout sessions, with a total of 11 mentors and over 40 mentees in each event.
Monthly DEI Spotlights
In 2020-2021, Kaat Ceder authored the monthly DEI Spotlights, which were a new addition for the SEAONC Post. Each DEI Spotlight highlighted various DEI topics related specifically to the structural engineering community.
Bi-Monthly Racial Equity Book Club Meetings
The Racial Equity task group also hosted bi-monthly Racial Equity Book Club meetings to discuss topics surrounding being Black in America, whiteness, Asian Americans, the cost of racism, housing access equity, and Native American cultural burning and land rights.
Game Night with SEAONC YMF and SHPE-SFBA
In April 2021, SEAONC SE3 co-hosted a casual Jeopardy game night with SEAONC YMF and the SF Bay Area chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) to encourage connections among like-minded engineering organizations.
Volunteering with Girls Inc
In February 2021, Karen Vogt-Wilcox organized a virtual “field trip” for middle school girls in partnership with the non-profit Girls Inc to celebrate Engineers Week. SEAONC SE3 volunteers and middle school girls built gumdrop and toothpick structures and participated in mini-mentoring breakout sessions.
Distribution of Civil Engineering Education Experience Survey
The Racial Equity Task Group also developed and distributed a survey for current civil engineering undergraduate students. Our hope is to gain an understanding of student experiences and what we as professionals can do to better support their career growth and development. We received 285 responses and are looking forward to sharing findings with SEAONC in the coming months.
President’s Message with SEAONC 2020-2021 President Emily Guglielmo
The Racial Equity Task Group jointly authored a President’s Message with SEAONC Past President Emily Guglielmo in October 2020’s newsletter for a call to action to SEAONC members on proactively contributing to racial diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within our profession.
SEAONC SE3 Presentations to Students
SEAONC SE3 presented on our committee, equity in the profession, and about the Racial Demographics of Civil Engineering Pathways in California report to UC Berkeley SEMM students in November 2020 and to college students from various schools during the SEAONC University Spring Series in April 2021.
As part of an effort to improve leadership continuity, 2020-2021 was the first year with a new leadership structure: Chair Tiffany Hwang (SpaceX), Vice Chair Hayley Proctor (WJE), and Past Chairs Brenna Marcoux (Forell | Elsesser) and Rachel Cohen (Forell | Elsesser). Tiffany was excited to pass on the reins to 2021-2022 Chairs Hayley and Curtis Siegfried (Degenkolb), with 2021-2022 Vice Chairs Priscilla Nguyen (Martinez Moore) and Kaat Ceder (WJE). The 2021-2022 year continues with four active task groups, with many of our members taking on leadership positions:
SEAONC SE3 has a full program of events and projects planned for 2022, and would love to hear from anyone interested in helping to bring the best possible programming to our SEAONC community and beyond. Our committee is full of dedicated engineers with a passion for serving our profession. As always, feel free to reach out to the committee with ideas, comments, or questions at email@example.com.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee