Sharyland Students Learn About Careers in Construction

On May 27, 2013, 17 high school students from Sharyland ISD spent half a day with a team of architects, engineers, project managers, and technicians to see exactly what it takes to build a SpawGlass building. RGV LEAD coordinated the Careers in Construction event as part of its work in the Mission Career Center Project, a partnership supported by the Mission Economic Development Corporation and other partners. The students observed first-hand the work being done by SpawGlass staff at UTPA’s Fine Arts Building, which is being enlarged and enhanced. When improvements are completed in Fall 2014, the building will have an auditorium that seats a thousand people and many other features. The students of Sharyland ISD learned about the different team members it takes to run a construction project and also experienced first-hand the high-tech career options in the construction industry.

Intrigued with the 3D model of the building, students were amazed with the advanced technology used in construction. Eddie Solis, BIM Manager at SpawGlass, said, “I get to do 3D designs and modeling all day and I love it.” Solis talked about his education and background and how he came to work for SpawGlass. Students enjoyed hearing about his work and asked many questions about the SpawGlass Building Information Modeling (BIM) system. Solis encouraged students to start thinking of the various careers out in the real word and about the importance of pursing postsecondary education. The Sharyland students also learned about the geotechnical study of the soil and wind. Project Manager Oscar Villarreal told the students, “Do your best now! It might seem like it takes long to become an engineer, but you need to invest in yourselves right now and who you are going to be tomorrow.”

The students also toured some of the building structures currently being remodeled. “It was interesting to see the many details that go into a project and building structures. This experience has helped me realize what is necessary to prepare for a career in architecture and also how important math is,” stated sophomore Mariana Yanez.

Felipe Vega, who helps his uncle in construction work, also plans to be an architect. He is taking architecture classes in high school and has learned to sketch plans and designs. Felipe enjoyed learning about 3D modeling and the technology that is involved in real-life projects. “I plan to pursue my goals and continue on to college to get the degree I need to be successful,” said Felipe. “I hope that when you are seniors, you can go into the new Fine Arts Center here at UTPA, and remember that you were here at the beginning of the project and you got to see first-hand the team of workers that helped run the project,” said Laura Lara, Architect/Senior Project Manager at UT System. Martha Gutierrez of RGV LEAD pointed out that students who are interested in a particular career field and have the opportunity to be mentored by industry professionals are motivated to continue in that field, despite challenges and obstacles. The Sharyland students’ responses to the experience indicated the success of this approach.

RGV LEAD - Linking Economic & Academic Development © 2013