Author: Christina Sanon
The new Diversity seat was implemented this year to embrace and promote cultural, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, religious creeds, political beliefs, and other ideological differences in a safe and positive environment. In its inaugural year, the Diversity chair created the Diversity Grant. The grant is a $500 reward awarded to a student matriculated in the School of Engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) who successfully defends their position on a selected question related to diversity and inclusion.
This year's topic explored the global impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The students were tasked to assess the effectiveness of the Trump administration’s response and provide solutions to aid the government in alleviating the spread of the virus in communities that are disproportionately underserved. There was a total of 13 submissions, each one proposing an innovative approach that would help to mitigate the spread of the virus in primarily minority communities.
Due to the caliber of the essays, the grant committee picked an overall winner and two deserving students received honorable mentions. Saul Perez, the overall winner, proposed that the government makes testing for Covid-19 readily available to residents of low-income communities. His essay advocated for incentives for online shopping, construction of new clinics and other medical assistance locales, and meal distribution centers. Gabby Squillante and Emily Cummins were lauded for advocating for funds and testing. Gabby proposed that funds be allocated to underrepresented communities and be used as per the needs of the individual communities. Emily suggested that the government invests in door-to-door mobile testing.
On behalf of the Diversity and Inclusion grant committee of the Las Vegas chapter of YMF, we would like to thank all participants and the University who graciously worked in tandem with us to promote the grant. We extend many thanks to Quincy Alexander of the ASCE National Mosaic committee for his participation in scoring the essays.
To all, be safe!
Author: Amanda Tanaka
Due to the unprecedented events that occurred this year, YMF had to find different alternatives to our typical events and keep active. One of our solutions was to transform our in-person monthly luncheons to a webinar format. By using a video conference platform, YMF was able continue bringing knowledge of the civil engineering field as well as enabling everyone to still receive their PDHs from home. We have been holding these webinars since April and they have been a great success, all thanks to the great effort of our board and enormous support of our sponsors and speakers.
This year we have had amazing people from the industry as our guest speakers: Fady Botros from Hofsommer Excavating, John Penuelas from RCT, David Goldestein from GeoTek, Dr. Trabia from UNLV, Wes Murray from Hayward, Kristina Swallow from NDOT and Brian Rowley from CCRFCD. Our last luncheon speaker for the FY 2019-2020 will be Ed McGuire from COH. This has definitely been a strange and difficult year, and we are very thankful for everyone’s support and continued attendance to our luncheon.
What a year 2020 has been so far! Ever since the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Las Vegas YMF has worked diligently to continue to host online-only events for its members to maintain an active presence in the local engineering community. To increase engagement with our members during this time, we have introduced a number of contests involving decorating home offices, showing off the best ASCE swag and baking! Pictured to the left is the winning entry of the first contest we held from March 30th to April 10th, the Office Decorating Contest. As the majority of those in the civil engineering community are working from home, we asked all participants to send us a Direct Message (DM) with a snapshot of their decorated home office for a chance to win a Target or Starbucks gift card. At the end, we received approximately 8 submissions, 4 shares and 73 likes on our two Instagram posts highlighting the top 2 contestants as well as honorable mentions for the remaining participants. After much deliberation, the social media committee awarded Oscar Quiroz with the 1st place prize, and Jaffer Almosawy with the 2nd place prize. Overall, we received excellent feedback from our first contest and noticed a significant participation rate from our membership, which encouraged us to plan further contests to continue engaging our members.
From April 15th to May 1st, we held the ASCE Spirit Day Competition. We asked ASCE YMF members to DM us a photo of themselves wearing their best ASCE swag for a chance to win a gift card and received 3 submissions, 2 shares and 52 likes on our two corresponding IG posts. Jaffer Almosawy swept the competition at 1st place with his incredible collection of ASCE memorabilia and merch, while Heidi Dexheimer and Iani Batilov won 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, for rocking their UNLV ASCE “Keep It Civil” shirts! We were so proud to see how dedicated our members are to ASCE as a whole while showing support for their alma mater UNLV by wearing their student shirts.
Our final contest involved arguably the most skill and technique out of all three major competitions, the Baking Contest. We asked members to send us photos of their best quarantine baked creations and we ranked our favorites. Pictured on the left is Jaffer Almosawy’s impeccable Oreo cheesecake, which quite literally “took the cake” at 1st place, while Ati Abad won second place for her wonderfully creamy berry swirl cake. Last, but not least, Kiana Negoro won 3rd place for her incredible almond chocolate strawberry eclair sporting the ASCE letters. In sum, we received approximately 6 submissions, 3 shares and 161 likes across the two posts showcasing our winning submissions and honorable mentions. We could only imagine how savory each of these delectable creations were, but we definitely proved that our local civil engineers truly double as exceptional bakers! In the end, each of these contests demonstrated that Las Vegas effectively kept YMF alive despite the limits that the nationwide quarantine mandate imposed on in-person events, and we aim to continue to offer similar methods of engagement in the coming months as the coronavirus outbreak persists. We thank each and every one of our amazing contestants and social media followers for supporting ASCE Las Vegas YMF, and stay tuned for our future competitions!