Inspiring Our Youth


Catherine Kolden from HEI’s Bismarck, ND, office met at Wachter Middle School last week to inspire and teach students about career opportunities in engineering and architecture. Catherine, among participants from other firms, gave presentations about their job, education, and why they chose engineering or architecture as a career. This is the second year Catherine participated in this event. Last year, Tyler Paul joined Catherine to showcase their different roles and degrees.

"I enjoy showing kids the fun projects engineers work on, how civil engineering works, and what it all means,” says Catherine.

As part of Catherine’s presentation, she explained that civil engineering is for people. “We design things that people use every day. We design water systems that you use to brush your teeth, the roads and bridges you use to get to school, and we work with architects to design school buildings.”

Catherine especially enjoys encouraging young ladies to think about careers in engineering. “[This presentation] promotes what [engineers] do and we hope it sparks something in the students minds that makes them think, ‘I could do that!’” says Catherine.

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THINKING IN 3D

In another portion of this event, each presenter provided a 3D printing design challenge that the students selected and completed. This challenge encouraged students to think about things in 3D. Catherine explained it was trickier to think of a 3D printing design project that related to civil engineering compared to architecture. The 3D printing design needed to be scaled small enough to print yet also interesting to feature.

Last year, Catherine and Tyler presented the challenge of creating a walking bridge from Wachter Middle School to the Kirkwood Mall and this year Catherine presented a downtown Bismarck trolley. The presenters gave design dimensions and specified if the project was to be a City of Bismarck or North Dakota theme, then the students got to choose the rest with how they wanted it to look. Both years the students selected HEI’s challenge.

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LASTING IMPRESSIONS

This event has been received very positively among students. Connie Gulleson (also in HEI’s Bismarck office) has a daughter, Emma, who participated in Catherine and Tyler’s presentation and design challenge last year. Emma was very impressed talking for several days stating how Catherine and Tyler “rocked it” and there was no competition among the other presenters. The presenters definitely left a lasting impression on these students.

“I hope we continue to do presentations like this throughout the Midwest and across a wide variety of age ranges,” says Tyler reflecting on his participation last year. “It’s great to get our younger generations thinking about engineering, surveying, and engineering technology as a profession.”

We are proud to have employees like Catherine and Tyler who spend time inspiring students about the engineering world and invest time in volunteering for their communities.