Career Week Connects Elementary Education with Engineering

People | March 20, 2019


a photo of a Benesch engineer teaching an elementary school about water engineering

POTTSVILLE, PA—The North Schuylkill School District’s annual Career Week connects professionals with students to explore potential career paths. This year, Benesch Project Manager Jennifer Kowalonek, PE provided a hands-on crash course in stormwater engineering to the district’s elementary school students.

Kowalonek has spent nearly her entire career at Benesch, where she is a project manager focused on water resources and dam engineering.

“For longer than you’ve been alive, I’ve been working on dams,” Kowalonek told her elementary school audience.

All joking aside, the presentation was serious business. Students had an opportunity to explore the engineering design process, touch some of the materials used on Kowalonek’s projects and, most importantly, make direct connections between what they’re learning in school and the skills required to be an engineer.

“I try to discuss topics that the students are learning about now that I use in my career and tell them all the reasons why people choose (and love) to be engineers,” Kowalonek said.

Teachers appreciated the direct correlations to their students’ math, science, English and social studies curriculum, and students enjoyed asking questions connecting Kowalonek’s work to their day-to-day lives, such as locations of the nearest dams to their school and what was the most expensive dam she ever worked on.

Kowalonek spoke at several sessions during the week, including a special session for the entire third-grade class and select homeroom sessions for first- and fourth-grade students.