ASCE Chapter Spotlight: Hawaii YMF

The Hawaii Section YMF officially formed in 1991 as the Hawaii Section Associate Member Forum.  They have become a large Younger Member Group with about 40 active members and they have won ASCE’s Younger Member Group Award 11 times.

My involvement with ASCE began with YMF.  Yes, I did attend a few ASCE events while in college, but it wasn’t until YMF that I truly became an active member of ASCE.  I, like many of our YMF members, attended college outside of Hawaii.  Joining YMF helped me to meet and develop friendships with other local civil engineers.  As an officer of our YMF, I’ve been able to attend several ASCE conferences that have helped to make me into the leader I am today.

-Amanda Tanaka

Hawaii YMF is very active.  They host monthly meetings on the first Wednesday every month.  They also really like to get outside and host hikes, a softball BBQ social, and a driving range outing (which seems to attract more people than a full round of golf).  Each year, the group hosts at least one Pau Hana Social (pau hana means the end of work and the social is held at the end of the workday somewhere near downtown).

Hawaii YMF also participates in a variety of community service and outreach events, including MATHCOUNTS, volunteering at the Foodbank, and helping with the Special Olympics Aukake Classic in August.  In addition, they try to do about two beach cleanups per year and participate in several STEM nights at local elementary schools.  The STEM nights include building towers out of spaghetti and tape, making water filters out of household items, and building a model of a water system.

“ASCE Made Me” represents to me an involvement and commitment to my career on both a personal and professional On a personal level, the networking involved has helped me connect to my peers and formed friendships that will hopefully last throughout my career and beyond.  On a professional level, having the opportunity to learn from others as well as helping those entering the field helps keep me focused and motivated that we’re all in this together.

What does your group do well?

We are lucky to have a great group of committee chairs and officers. Most of our committee chairs have served in their positions for several years and are very proficient at what they do (which makes my job as president pretty simple).  They’ll seek out opportunities and plan and run our many events.  We also have a few newer committee chairs who are quickly and eagerly stepping up to the plate.

We’ve developed a close relationship with the University of Hawaii (UH) Manoa Student Chapter.  We welcome the students to our events and have experienced high student turnouts to some of our activities, such as our monthly meetings.  With the friendships that have formed, the transition from student to YMF member will hopefully be seamless.

Civil engineers starting their professional careers benefit from having resources to help guide their way. ASCE has served that role for many of the Hawaii Section YMFers.  The professional and social comradery through YMF helps to “bridge the gap” between seasoned professionals and young engineers. Many have indicated that they would not be the leaders they currently are without the ASCE culture and structure.  YMF Past President Tony Lau indicated that he obtained his first full-time job as a direct result of meeting his boss at an ASCE dinner meeting.

What does your group need help with?

Because of the amount of activities that we have, there is a lot of communication that needs to happen. We are working to streamline the way we disseminate and gather information.  For example, we are trying out grouping event announcements in one email rather than bombarding our members with several separate emails in a short period.  Rather than ask our members to send photos and write-ups of events to several different people for posting and sharing, we are working to make this process more organized and less cumbersome.

Is there anything else you want the community to know about Hawaii YMF?

We would love to host WRYMC 2019! We are already beginning preparation for our bid to host.  We last hosted in 2003.

Follow Hawaii YMF on social media

Hawaii has an excellent website with information about all of their upcoming events.  You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.  If you have any questions for the group, feel free to email them at  ymf.hawaii@gmail.com.

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