The Philadelphia Younger Member Forum (YMF) is one of the larger and more active ASCE groups I’ve come across. They have over 750 members and a board of 20 officers. They are constantly putting on new events to engage members and attract young engineers.
ASCE made us better engineers by providing a forum that allowed us to expand our respective professional networks. This, in turn, has led to better coordination on projects, as well as an increased exposure to different career opportunities. Best of all, ASCE has helped forge many lifelong friendships… and, for the YMF, even several marriages!
What does your group do well?
The ASCE Philadelphia YMF does a great job of providing a wide variety of social, technical, outreach, and volunteer events. It’s this variety of events that allows them to keep their diverse membership engaged. Below is a snapshot of some of the things they do.
- Welcome Back Bowling Night – This event is geared toward the student members in the Philadelphia area colleges. Students are invited to come out for free bowling and pizza, while getting the opportunity to network with engineering professionals and other students in a casual setting.
- Winter Social – This event is one of the Philly YMF’s most successful annual events; attendance averages about 175 young civil engineering professionals and college students each year. The event features a raffle for prizes donated by local companies that typically raise over $2,000, which is then donated to local charitable organizations, often with an engineering focus.
- Adopt-A-Highway Street Cleanup – Twice a year the Philly YMF teams up with the local chapter of the American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE) to clean up the two mile stretch of highway that the organizations co-adopted in Ambler, PA.
- Civil Engineering Club – The Civil Engineering Club is an after school club that was founded in 2012 at Chester A. Arthur Middle School in South Philadelphia. The Club’s curriculum development is managed by the YMF Board’s Civil Engineering Club Chairs. The Chairs utilize the Board and the membership to arrange for engineering professionals to speak with the students about the various fields within the civil engineering industry. Meetings are held once a week, from September through May, with a focus on hands-on activities to keep the students engaged. The “course” culminates in a balsa wood bridge building competition.
- Critical Issues Seminar – The Critical Issues Seminar is organized by the YMF Board’s Professional Development Chair. This panel-led seminar focuses each year on a different contemporary topic affecting the civil engineering industry, as well as those who have careers in it. Members are invited to come hear from the experts on the topic to expand their knowledge on the highlighted “issue.”
- Mock Interview Program – The Philly YMF recently created a mock interview program where student members can respond to various mock job postings on the YMF website. The students send their cover letters and resumes to an actual engineering professional working in a civil engineering field related to the posting, who reviews and critiques their resume, then sets up a mock interview with the participant. Following the process, each student participant receives feedback on his/her cover letter, resume, and interview.
- Phillies Game & Tailgate – The annual Phillies Tailgate is one of the Philly YMF’s summer events. It typically attracts about 100 young civil engineers and students from various engineering firms, schools, and organizations. The group enjoys cooking up grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, while playing tailgating games. Afterwards, the fun moves into the stadium where everyone gets to enjoy the baseball game.
- Joint Technical Seminar – The Philly YMF annually partners with Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers (PSPE) to organize an event where four technical presentations are given on various projects. The event is preceded by a networking happy hour and it qualifies for 1 PDH credit.
- Election Happy Hour – In May, it comes time to elect the Philly YMF’s next Executive Board and announce the newly appointed Chairs. The Philly YMF members gather for a happy hour to vote on their next leaders as well as celebrate another successful year of the Philly YMF!
What does your group need help with?
With the Philly YMF continuously expanding their K-12 outreach efforts, while maintaining a successful Civil Engineering Club, we could use help with recruiting more civil engineers who are interested in volunteering for student outreach.
Is there anything else you want the ASCE community to know about the Philly YMF?
What the Philly YMF would like the ASCE community to know is that we’re very open to idea-sharing. If you have tips on how we can recruit additional outreach volunteers, or other unique events they can run, please let us know. And if you’re seeking advice from the Philly YMF, please do not hesitate to reach out, contact info is on the website!