Day of Discovery: Reaching Out to the Next Generation

Day of Discovery: Reaching Out to the Next Generation

Day of Discovery
Caitlin Ormsbee, Senior Associate, explaining the acoustic engineering she did for One Vanderbilt.


Engineering is one of the most male-dominated professions in the United States where only 13% out of 1.6 million engineers employed in the United States are women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics and the Society of Women Engineers. This gender gap starts in school, where male secondary students are more likely to take engineering classes than females and only 7.9% of women enter college with intentions to major in Engineering, Math, Statistics, or Computer Science.

Thornton Tomasetti’s Day of Discovery hopes to shift this trend by exposing young women to career opportunities in structural engineering, architecture and construction-related fields. Day of Discovery gives girls in grades nine to 12 an introduction to the AEC professions from women who work in the industry. This year’s program drew 50 participants, some of whom were event veterans.

Each of the speakers talked about her own career path and what her position entails. This year, our very own Caitlin Ormsbee had the opportunity to talk about the acoustic engineering she did for One Vanderbilt, specifically the cooling tower and observation deck auralizations.

After the presentations, the girls were tasked with creating skyscrapers of their own using K’Nex construction pieces, then presenting their design approach and objectives to the group.

The students ended the day with a visit to One Vanderbilt to see first-hand how building design comes to life on a large scale. After donning hard hats and vests, they made their way up to the 58th floor of the skyscraper. With the floor still under construction, they were able to see beams, girders and other structural elements coming into place.