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10:30am - 11:15am ID: 179 / Session 02A: 1 Main Technical Program Topics: Leadership, Social Equity, Workforce Development Keywords: STEM/STEAM, Outreach, Equity, Diversity, Community
How Do We Make Outreach More Equitable? A Case Study at Murraysmith + Quincy
Maricris "Mari" Orama, Sage Ebel
Murraysmith, United States of America; ,
It is no secret that STEAM fields lack the diversity and inclusion of the communities they serve. Many individuals and organizations are working hard to develop plans for increasing racial and gender equity within their fields. STEAM Outreach plays a significant role in supporting long-term societal goals of increasing STEAM literacy and diversity within our STEM workforce.
STEAM Outreach has been found to provide communities—particularly students, parents, and teachers—with opportunities to engage in ways that are relevant, educational, and inspirational. COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and remote schooling have posed both challenges and advantages for STEAM Outreach. Ultimately, without an intentional focus on equitable structure and practice within an outreach program, students in underserved communities will continue to have limited access and exposure to knowledge of STEM fields, technology, resources, and a comprehensive STEM educational experience (Avendano et al, 2018; Boyce, 2017).
What can we as professionals in the engineering industry do to build and foster more equitable STEAM communities? How do we structure our Outreach Programs to focus on equity?
This presentation explores the steps taken at Murraysmith + Quincy to improve its STEAM Outreach program. We will discuss: 1) the significance of STEAM versus STEM; 2) the challenges and advantages posed by remote learning and STEAM outreach; 3) the restructuring of our program; 4) lessons learned and next steps; and 5) pertinent conclusions and recommendations for other companies looking to initiate more equitable outreach programs.
Brief Biography and/or Qualifications Maricris “Mari” Orama – Maricris Eleno-Orama, EdD, P.E., has 10 years of experience in water, stormwater, and wastewater design and planning projects throughout Washington State. She has seven years of experience as a chemistry/engineering professor in Higher Education, including supporting the Washington Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (WA MESA) Program at Tacoma Community College as the Faculty Sponsor. She has been with Murraysmith since 2019 as a Professional Engineer and is on Murraysmith’s Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership Team. She supports Sage Ebel in initiating an Outreach Program focused on equity for local underserved communities. She is also a co-founder of S.C.O.P.E., or Supportive Community of Professional Engineers, an outreach project focused on connecting students to local engineers and computer scientists within Pierce County, Washington.
Sage Ebel has been with Murraysmith for three years as an Engineering Designer. She has experience working on water, wastewater, and stormwater projects in various capacities ranging from planning, modeling, and design to inspection and construction support. She has taken the lead in restructuring the Murraysmith + Quincy outreach program and supports the company’s outreach team’s regional representatives in their efforts to incorporate equitable outreach into the fibers of daily life.
11:15am - 12:00pm ID: 304 / Session 02A: 2 Main Technical Program Topics: Leadership, Social Equity, Workforce Development Keywords: equity, infrastructure, community engagement
Walking a Mile in Our Communities' Shoes
Nicki Pozos, Jessie Maran
The Formation Lab, United States of America; ,
Wastewater professionals often struggle to translate equity principles into their everyday work. At the heart of this struggle is a lack of understanding—how does our work interact with the life conditions of the communities we serve? This interactive session will explore three scenarios relevant to utilities: basement flooding, trust in drinking water, and construction impacts. Attendees will explore how socio-economic resilience, disenfranchisement, and transportation access affect our lived experience.
Brief Biography and/or Qualifications Dr. Nicki Pozos, Principal with The Formation Lab, brings 19 years of experience in engineering, planning and communications for major infrastructure projects. Nicki is a recognized leader in promoting equity within the water industry. She has presented on bias and equity to thousands of technical professionals, is a co-founder of Leading Water Forward, and serves as a minority evaluator for the City of Portland. Nicki’s experience includes developing a unique approach to managing and supporting DMWESB firms, coordinating engagement with tribal nations on a major capital program, and integrating input from underrepresented populations into Oregon’s recycling program.
Jessie Maran, Principal with The Formation Lab, brings over 25 years of experience in urban design, graphic communications, operations, and project management. Jessie is a systematic and compassionate leader focused on creating equitable cities. Jessie manages DMWESB development programs on major capital projects, develops equity strategies for private firms, and works with utilities to integrate equity into the planning, design and operation of public infrastructure.