Hawaii Section YMF: An Island Community with No Boundaries

The Hawaii Section Younger Member Forum is a small group that participates in many social activities, outdoor events, ASCE conferences, and community projects.  Even though they live on a small island, Hawaii finds a way to make a big impact on their community and the Civil Engineering profession.  This post was written to showcase the exceptional work of the Hawaii YMF in 2015, and it is a response to the mistake that ASCE made when receiving Hawaii’s application for the 2015 ASCE Younger Member Group Award.

Hawaii YMF hosts a lot of outdoor social activities because….well…Hawaii!  They plan many hikes in the amazing scenery around the island, including to the top of the Koko Head Crater.  They also host other social event where young engineers can meet up and unwind at the end of a work day.

Hawaii YMF Hiking Selfie (Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Section YMF)

Even though the chapter is on an island with a limited number of people, they manage to draw around 20 attendees to each of their monthly meetings.  Despite being isolated from the mainland, the group manages to send representatives to almost all of the conferences that ASCE hosts each year.  They sent one person to the 2014 Annual Convention in Panama and four people to the 2015 Western Regional Younger Member Council (WRYMC) in Seattle.

The Hawaii Section YMF also puts a lot of effort into university outreach and K-12 education.  They host several “Junior Engineering Night” events at local elementary schools with hands-on engineering activities. One of these evenings was a joint event with the local ASCE Student Chapter, and the kids explored different emphases in civil engineering at different activity stations.  The group also participated in a MATHCOUNTS competition and acted as judges for the state science and engineering fair. Additional interaction with the Student Chapter came from mock interviews.

Outreach at Manana Elementary School (Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Section YMF)

The YMF chapter also participates in many community service activities, including a beach cleanup day, a local food drive, and volunteering at a local special Olympics Bocce Tournament.  In addition, they took part in two island fishpond workdays where they worked to help preserve and maintain ancient fishponds.

There are several technical activities that Hawaii offers to their members, including bi-annual PE review courses.  A few YMs also attended a technical course in Best Management Practices for Low Impact Development.  The chapter facilitates local technical tours and participated in the Pacific Water Conference by giving a presentation about how to get involved with volunteer activities.

Hawaii frequently applies for Society awards and was recognized as the Outstanding Younger Member Group for a small section at the ASCE Annual Convention in 2015.  In addition, Troy Ching from Hawaii won the Edmund Friedman Award in 2015.  CYM should have picked up on this and realized that something was amiss when we didn’t receive an application from them in 2015.

Award recipients at the 2015 Annual Convention (Photo Courtesy of Hawaii Section YMF)

For a group located in a fairly isolated location, the Hawaii YMF seems to drum up a lot of enthusiasm and support from their Younger Members of ASCE.  They have very consistent attendance at their meetings and have a lot of participation in all of the events they plan.  Most impressively, Hawaii seems to stay so well-connected to the Society even though they’re forced to travel a lot more than we all do for ASCE conferences and events.  I am very disappointed that CYM didn’t get a chance to review their application for the 2015 ASCE Younger Member Group Award because I think they do some amazing things that make big impacts on their community and our profession as a whole. Follow their Facebook page to keep up on what they’re doing in their community.

Hawaii’s 2014/2015 Lineup:

Tim Goshi, P.E., Lara Karamatsu, P.E., Eric Arakawa, P.E., Lisa Takushi, P.E., Jaime Lubeck, P.E., Mark Rau, P.E., Troy Ching, P.E., and Alicia Nakano

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