Freese and Nichols Engineers Help Students Imagine Future Cities

Members of our Freese and Nichols North Carolina and Houston teams recently helped organize, sponsor and judge regional editions of the Future City competition, which allows middle school students to imagine and design a better world.

For this year’s challenge, student teams in grades 6 through 8 had to choose a climate change impact and design one innovative and futuristic climate change adaptation and one mitigation strategy to keep their residents healthy and safe. The students shared their vision in a 1,500-word essay and built a scale model of their city using recycled materials. They also developed a project plan to stay on track and presented on their projects to a panel of STEM professionals who volunteered as competition judges.

The event gives students hands-on experience applying math and science to solve real-world problems, lets them explore career options and helps them practice public speaking skills.

In the North Carolina region, Freese and Nichols sponsored a specialty award for “Most Creative Resource Recovery.” Martha Cardona, PM/Stormwater in Raleigh, helped judge and then presented the award. It went to the “Hex Isles” team from J.M. Alexander School in Huntersville, North Carolina.

Kyle Horsham, Water Resource Design in Charlotte, mentored a team from Charlotte that received an award for Most Creative Presentation and finished fourth overall in the competition (worth $400 for the team’s school).

Brian White served on the event’s Steering Committee for the fourth year. “This was the first year back in person after COVID, so it was an exciting time,” he said.

In the Houston regionElizabeth Byrd, Transmission and Utilities in Pearland, was among six Celebrity Judges for the competition. Elizabeth chairs the 2023 Houston Engineers Week Committee.