Woodbury Hosts 2024 SoCal Future City Competition

On Saturday, January 20th, Woodbury University proudly hosted its second annual event of the SoCal Future City Competition, where 17 teams of middle school students competed regionally to address the theme of “Electrify Your Future” through innovative STEM projects and problem-solving skills.

In partnership with PMI California Central Coast Chapter, faculty and staff from the Woodbury School of Architecture (WSOA), including, Dr. Arash Soleimani, Chair and Associate Professor, and Marina Zakarian, Activity Director, Casey Weihert, Future City Regional Coordinator, Woodbury warmly welcomed more than 100 middle school students with their parent and educators to Woodbury’s Burbank campus for this year’s program.

Throughout the competition, the promising young participants, working alongside their program leaders and mentors, crafted futuristic city models aimed at addressing the complex issue of designing cities that are fully electric and powered by energy sources designed to keep their citizens and the environment healthy and safe.

Future City, a hands-on cross-curricular educational program designed by professional engineers, aims to bring STEM subjects to life for middle school students in grades 6–8. With over 45,000 students annually participating across the US, Canada, China, Egypt, and Nigeria, the program emphasizes teamwork among students, educators, and mentors.

Participants in Future City come from various educational backgrounds, including middle schools, homeschool environments, and nationally, regionally, or state-recognized youth-focused organizations. Using the Engineering Design Process (EDP) and project management skills, students collaborate regionally to showcase their solutions to citywide sustainability issues.

Program leaders guide team members through this project-based learning experience, assisting them in tackling the issue at hand as they imagine, research, brainstorm, design, and build “cities of the future.” While the work is entirely student-led, program leaders upload deliverables and provide feedback and guidance along the way.

Mentors play a crucial role as coaches and role models, sharing their real-life STEM experiences, offering technical guidance, and assisting in translating academic concepts to the real-world contexts of engineering and city design.

A team of judges evaluated the teams’ deliverables, provided constructive feedback, and helped determine the overall winners, contributing to an enriching and rewarding experience for all participants.

Looking back on the event, Dr. Soleimani expressed the students’ and parents’ enthusiasm for visiting the campus and engaging with faculty mentors in STEM fields.

To stay updated on future events and learn more about the competition, interested individuals are encouraged to follow the Woodbury School of Architecture (WSOA) on Instagram for video clips of this year’s participants and information about upcoming competitions.

Future City is a program organized by DiscoverE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing global resources, programs, and connections between K-12 students and engineers and STEM professionals. DiscoverE focuses on reaching girls and underrepresented and underserved students, offering free STEM and engineering programs supported by generous donors.

Woodbury University’s successful hosting of the second annual SoCal Future City Competition underscores its dedication to fostering innovation, creativity, and STEM education among middle school students, while addressing critical global challenges such as climate change.

About Future City

Future City is a program of DiscoverE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing global resources, programs, and connections between K-12 students and engineers and STEM professionals — with an emphasis on reaching girls and under-represented and under-served students. DiscoverE is the backbone organization behind some of the earliest and most broadly adopted free STEM and engineering programs available. DiscoverE is supported by generous donors, including the Bechtel Corporation, Bentley Systems, Collins Aerospace, Exxon Mobil, NCEES, Northrop Grumman Foundation, the Overdeck Family Foundation, Project Management Institute, Shell Oil Company, TE Connectivity, and others. Learn more here.




Last Updated on February 2, 2023.

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