Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers with Claire Killian

At Degenkolb Engineers, we take pride in the dedication and passion of our team members, both in their professional roles and in their communities. One such Degenkolber is San Francisco Designer, Claire Killian, who has found a meaningful way to give back through her involvement with the Engineers Alliance for the Arts (EAA).

Claire first discovered EAA when she joined Degenkolb Engineers full-time in 2022. Inspired by the organization’s mission, she eagerly became a volunteer in 2023. EAA is a non-profit dedicated to enhancing education by integrating art and engineering, aiming to inspire and prepare students for future careers through educational programs and initiatives.

© Engineers Alliance for the Arts

Starting her volunteer journey with EAA, Claire engaged with students at Ida B. Wells High School in San Francisco as part of The Student Impact Project (SIP). SIP connects students with professional engineers and designers, guiding them in constructing scale model bridges. This project-based initiative, emphasizing STEAM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), promotes collaboration among students, simulating a real-world workplace setting.

When a vice president of the Student Impact Project relocated, Claire stepped into a vice president role alongside two co-vice presidents. Reflecting on her involvement, Claire says, “I really like having the opportunity to give back to the community. I’ve always enjoyed doing community service, so this is great for people who are interested in that.”

Claire’s contributions to EAA extend beyond teaching. She organizes orientations, sends weekly updates to volunteers, and assists with the program’s logistics. A key responsibility is helping run the final SIP event, where students present their bridge projects to judges. This hands-on experience has allowed Claire to hone her organizational skills and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and rewards of mentoring.

© Engineers Alliance for the Arts

Her work with EAA has enriched her professional skills and provided a profound sense of accomplishment. “As a young engineer in day-to-day life and work, it can feel like you’re always learning and haven’t mastered much yet. Going into a classroom of high schoolers, getting them interested in engineering, and realizing that you can teach them something is very rewarding,” Claire shares. Teaching complex engineering concepts to high school students has helped her appreciate the value of clear communication and creative thinking, giving her a refreshing break from her routine and a meaningful way to engage with the community.

Claire recalls the rewarding moments when students, initially disengaged, completed their projects and even won awards for their innovative solutions. These experiences have reinforced her belief in the program’s impact and the importance of community service.

Claire is not alone in her efforts; many other Degenkolbers also volunteer with EAA. She encourages others to get involved, highlighting the program’s benefits for personal growth and community impact. For young engineers, it’s an opportunity to give back, improve their skills, and feel confident in their knowledge. For the students, it provides a supportive and structured environment to explore engineering.

© Engineers Alliance for the Arts

Claire Killian’s journey with EAA is a testament to the power of volunteering and its positive effects on both the volunteers and the community they serve. At Degenkolb Engineers, we celebrate Claire’s contributions and the inspiring impact she has on future generations of engineers.

For more information about EAA, visit Engineers Alliance for the Arts.