Working with the AEC Professionals of the Future
I have had the opportunity to do work in a variety of areas during my career: soils and foundations, environmental, structural hardware, pre-manufactured trusses, and structural engineering of buildings. None of this would have been possible without a solid background in math and science. I was able to pass this along to my children and they are all working in fields where science and math are an important part of their success. One of the most rewarding things I have done as an engineer has been teaching and sharing what I have learned in my 30-plus years of working in the engineering field.
For the past five years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer in local schools through the Architects in Schools program, introducing elementary students to the design profession and the tools necessary to work in this field. This year I am working with fifth graders at Jewett Elementary in Central Point, OR, who will learn the basics of design and then work on a project in teams. The teams will work to design a community space for afterschool programs and activities or a dedicated assembly area addition that will create space in the school for activities. Both projects address needs in the community.
The teachers that I work with will be using the project as a tool in all aspects of their students’ education. The students will be writing proposals and marketing plans, calculating floor areas, figuring out budgets, and drawing plans—both by hand and with computers. The final goal is to present their ideas to the city council or school board.
"Working with Brian Dunagan on our AIS unit has been a treat! He, and the content of our AIS unit, brings the world of engineering and design into our classroom, giving my 5th grade students an awareness of, appreciation for, and experience with these fields; allowing them to apply their science and math knowledge to meaningful challenges. This has become one of the more powerful units we teach." - Paul Lunte, 5th grade teacher, Jewett Elementary
The Architect in Schools program is an opportunity to share a wide range of career opportunities with students that might otherwise not get this opportunity. I am so pleased to work with the volunteers and teachers that are a part of this program.
“We have been so fortunate to have Brian participate as an engineer in the Architects in Schools program over the last several years! He has helped so many students understand the design process and how the math and science they are learning in school impacts their lives outside of school. Having engineers share their knowledge in the classroom is so important to these students, and they are thrilled when someone like Brian cares enough to come and help them learn in different ways.” - Kim Ruthardt Knowles, Associate Director, Architects in Schools