Terex Utilities team members recently took the company’s Safety Town and Build-a-Boom Workshop to two different groups of students. The purpose was to demonstrate concepts in electrical safety and to offer career exploration.
In February, about 70 third through fifth graders in the Florence School District, Florence, South Dakota, saw a live demonstration of how electricity travels path to ground with the Safety Town kit, learned about the role Terex equipment plays in utility operations and then designed their own aerial device model in the Build-a-Boom Workshop.
Safety Town shows what happens when two characters in the town, Neon Leon and Lightnin’ Liz, come in contact with live voltage.
“We describe how birds can sit on one wire, but if a bird touches another bird on a different wire, they would be electrocuted," says Marci Lewno, Manufacturing Engineer and member of the Terex Utilities Community Engagement committee. "We teach students the steps for exiting a vehicle if they are in a situation where an energized line has fallen on it. We also cook a hot dog using electricity to represent what happens to our bodies when exposed to electrical shock."
Jesse Haagensen, sales application technician for Terex Utilities, says his favorite moment of the assembly was when one student finished building her boom very quickly and started helping other kids with theirs.
"She was excited to show off her ‘engineering’ skills and did a great job,” Haagensen says.
Any opportunity to give students real-world experience is a plus, says Mitch Reed, superintendent of the Florence School District.
“Students have a variety of learning styles, and giving them the chance to work with their hands while constructing is crucial," Reed says. "We appreciate Terex and their efforts to educate our youth.”
In March, Terex Utilities participated in a Microsoft DigiGirlz event hosted by Omnitech at the University Center Sioux Falls, South Dakota, campus. The event is for eighth through 12th grade girls and is focused on dispelling stereotypes of the tech industry. During the event, girls interact with women in technology and participate in technology sessions and demonstrations.
This is the second year that female employees of Terex Utilities participated in the DigiGirlz event. In addition to a demonstration of Safety Town, Lewno; Tiara Marcus, quality manager; and Ashley Johnson, manufacturing engineer, joined a panel discussion about why they chose a career in a STEM-related field.
Students asked about how to prepare for careers in STEM-related fields.
“We stressed the importance of internships, finding a mentor, and exploring coursework outside of major study area,” Lewno says. “Many technical jobs require people to be detail-oriented, focused, and good problem solvers—traits needed in manufacturing and the utility industry,” she says.