The SEAONC Structural Engineering, Engagement, and Equity (SE3) Committee held its 2022 Symposium in-person on June 16, 2022 at the Brower Center in Berkeley entitled The Past, Present, and Future of DEI in Structural Engineering. The goal of this symposium was to provide clear, actionable goals and resources for attendees looking to advance their DEI impact to the next level–whether that be their first step or if they had been previously involved in these efforts.
The half-day symposium kicked off with an inspiring keynote address given by past and current SEAONC SE3 chairs (Natalie Tse, Nick Sherrow-Groves, and Kaat Ceder); the speakers shared how SEAONC SE3’s goals and programming have evolved throughout the years and where the committee is going as new leaders set their eyes on the future. The keynote address was then followed by a presentation given by Priscilla Nguyen, entitled Civil and Structural Engineering Pathways: A Closer Look at Undergraduates, which summarized past research completed by the Racial Equity Task group and provided action items to address the underrepresentation of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) in our profession. The results of much of this work can be found on SEAONC SE3's Publications page.
After the initial presentations, the attendees attended one of three concurrent breakout sessions. In The Structural Engineer’s Role in a Sustainable & Resilient SF Bay Area session, three AEC industry panelists (Frances Yang, Dr. Laurie Johnson, and Sarah Rege) shared their thoughts on the human and community impact of sustainable and resilient design. In the Equitable and Community-Oriented Design session, three AEC professionals (David Mar, Joy Wei, and Julia Weatherspoon) summarized their experiences working on and delivering projects with a community focus and/or targeting more equitable outcomes. In the Creating and Maintaining Internal DEI Initiatives: An Open Forum session, four speakers (Hayley Proctor, Jen Gross, Rachel Cohen, and Tiffany Chatmon) shared their experiences and provided tips in implementing, adapting, and/or maintaining DEI programs at their respective offices and/or firms.
Following a brief coffee break, the attendees participated in a workshop entitled Active Allyship in the Workplace, which was facilitated by The PEER Group. The goal of this workshop was to enhance participants’ abilities to engage equitably in the profession while interacting with peers and clients and in how they practice engineering. This workshop was the first of a three-part series entitled Engineering Inclusive Engineers. The next two sessions are scheduled to take place virtually in August and in September - keep an eye out for the registration emails!
After the workshop, the attendees gathered in the Goldman Theater for the Firm Leader DEI Cohorts Program Panel Discussion. The panelists of this session consisted of four SEAONC firm leaders (Ann Coleman, Eric Long, Stefanie Rae Arizabel, and Thuy Fontelera) who participated in a year-long program called SEAONC SE3’s Firm Leader DEI Cohorts: Driving Innovation through DEI Strategies. The panelists shared lessons learned, accomplishments, and reflections on barriers they encountered while developing DEI initiatives at their firms and more broadly within the structural engineering community. More about the lessons learned from the Firm Leader Cohort program can be found in the program summary report here.
The symposium wrapped up with motivational Closing Remarks by Pradeep Jhamnani who encouraged attendants to take action and make our profession more diverse and inclusive. To conclude this eventful day, the participants enjoyed a networking social with food and beverages alongside peers and speakers.
The SE3 Committee is deeply grateful to all who participated in the 2022 SEAONC SE3 Symposium! Also, the SE3 Committee sends a heartfelt thank you to the speakers, volunteers, and organizers who helped make this sold out event filled with inspiration and a desire to drive change, a very memorable success. And finally, a big thank you to SEAONC for funding the Symposium!
More in-depth session descriptions and speaker bios can be found here. Photos captured during the Symposium by Tue Nam Ton (TNT) and sponsored by Computers & Structures, Inc. can be found here. Resources mentioned throughout the Symposium can be found here.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee