April 11, 2017
By Katarzyna Chmurzynska
Dream big. Although we hear this often, it can seem like a distant goal when we face various obstacles on the way. Sometimes we give up on achieving our dreams. Here’s what I’ve learned. I’m not alone. With a vibrant team we can achieve more than we think! I’ve learnt this many times over in the past 12 years with CH2M, and it was reconfirmed at our science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) weekend in Krakow a few weeks ago.
I’ve admired the great job my colleagues in London have been doing in promoting STEM education. Young talents shadow our engineers and learn what an engineering career might mean. I’ve envied them and kept looking for ways to implement more of these types of initiatives in Poland. The excitement for sharing our knowledge and collective experience as a team became my little obsession. Here is where the CH2M Foundation and my colleagues from Krakow came in to help. Now I need a new dream, because this one just came true in March!
At work we tend to put our heads down and focus at the job at hand, but we can have a profound influence on others if we join forces in sharing our knowledge! Four members of our Krakow Global Design Production Center team in Poland learned this first-hand on March 31.
A group of 35 highly talented students from across Poland visited CH2M as part of their science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) weekend. In a partnership between the CH2M Foundation and the Polish Children’s Fund, the 15- to 18-year-old students were given the tools to develop their mathematics passion. Then the students spent two days with professors of the oldest, most renowned Polish college, Jagiellonian University.
But we couldn’t miss the opportunity to introduce them to our passion too!
“That two-hour-long session was an excellent example of our collaboration,” said CH2M geotechnical engineer Tomasz Tajer. “In a short period of time we managed to divide tasks, agree on the way we would like to present our ideas and help these juniors understand how mathematics is linked with our daily challenges.”
The group was split into three smaller teams, each presented with a discipline-specific task, constituting part of the same new pumping station project.
“My team had to draw on a map the cross-section between study area and calculated slope grade. Another team led by Lukasz Biniszewski calculated minimum head for pump, head losses and level of differences between pumping station and water tank. The calculation needed to consider water quality, age of pipes and types of equipment to stress the multiplicity of engineering tasks. The Instrumentation and Control team, led by Lukasz Laba, had to perform a control system risk assessment and an instrumentation selection study,” added GIS design professional Agnieszka Kurczaba.
It doesn’t take much to organize such event but it may result in stunning effects. Have we changed their lives? It’s too early to say, but we hope we have influenced some of these geniuses to step onto the engineering path one day!