WJE Hosts Open Doors Mentoring Program

April 23, 2009
WJE welcomed local area students from Lake Forest High School through their Open Doors program, where they received hands-on exposure in career exploration. The students were given the unique opportunity to experience WJE's contributions to the built world via engineering, architecture, and materials science practices.

Fifteen students attended guided tours of WJE petrography, microscopy, chemistry, and structural laboratories within WJE's Janney Technical Center. Hands-on demonstrations held in the center, which has more than 25,000 square feet of laboratory space, enabled students to learn about the world's most interesting and complex structural, architectural, and material challenges that WJE encounters daily. Students learned how WJE scientists and chemists test materials and diagnose problems at the microscopic level.

WJE Marketing Manager and Associate Principal Richard Walther, PE, SE, gave a presentation on the I-35W Bridge collapse, discussing why it collapsed and details of WJE's study of the failure.

"Students who attended the conference had a great time learning about WJE and the details of our profession," said Walther. "I'm glad we were able to provide them with a unique forum that enabled them to explore the many career opportunities in the fields of engineering, architecture, and materials science," he said.

Students also learned about historic preservation, design, and architecture from LEED accredited professionals Ken Itle, AIA, and Jamie Clapper Morris, AIA, both members of WJE's Architecture group. Itle and Clapper Morris discussed how WJE preserves historic structures such as Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, St. Elizabeths West Campus, the Nicodemus National Historic site, and National Park Service areas nationwide.

"I've loved building things for as long as I can remember, visiting an elite interdisciplinary firm like WJE was an incredible experience," said Lake Forest High School student and Open Doors participant Benjamin Dillon. "Seeing the machinery in the workshop was awesome, and learning about all the testing on various materials to find their limits was very interesting," he said.

About WJE
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., (WJE) is an interdisciplinary firm of architects, structural engineers, and materials scientists that specializes in the investigation, analysis, testing, and design of repairs for historic and contemporary structures. WJE focuses on delivering practical, innovative, and technically sound solutions across all areas of construction technology. Since the firm's founding more than fifty years ago, WJE specialists bring the collective experience gained from conducting more than seventy-five thousand investigations worldwide to every construction challenge. WJE combines state-of-the-art laboratory and testing facilities, nationwide offices, and knowledge sharing systems to provide solutions for the built world. For more information, please visit wje.com.

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