HNTB and SPARK LA program gives wings to Girls Academic Leadership Academy students

Aviation module is the latest of eight sessions focusing on infrastructure

LOS ANGELES (April 8, 2019) – HNTB Corporation and the Los Angeles Board of Public Works recently completed an aviation experience module with the Los Angeles Unified School District’s first all-girls secondary school – the Girls Academic Leadership Academy. The collaborative SPARK LA partnership between the City of Los Angeles and HNTB supplements the new school’s focus on a STEM curriculum – science, technology, engineering and math – to attract more female students to pursue degrees and professions where females traditionally are underrepresented.

The free-after school sessions cover various aspects of infrastructure for approximately 25 girls this school year. During the aviation session hosted by HNTB, Los Angeles World Airports representatives and the firm’s aviation professionals taught students about various flight topics, including route planning and calculating aircraft range. The students even had the chance to take the pilot’s seat on a flight simulator.

“Over the course of the SPARK program, the students continue to impress me with their understanding of each topic,” said Laura Mohr, PE, HNTB vice president, rail/transit group director and SPARK LA program leader. “They ask very thoughtful questions that show they are interested in understanding concepts and motivated to learn.”

The aviation module is one of eight interactive weekly sessions related to infrastructure. Others included water resources, bridge design and rail planning. Sessions are led by practitioners who share career information and help small teams develop year-end projects that incorporate their learning. These projects will be presented to the Board of Public Works at City Hall.

Since the school opened in August 2016, GALA’s extensive community and educational partnerships ensure that students have access to the latest information in STEM fields, leadership training, and post-secondary preparation. The school welcomes all girls within the LAUSD who are committed to a highly rigorous, college preparatory curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math. The school is building from its initial offering of sixth and ninth grades to all grades sixth through twelfth. GALA’s first senior class will graduate in 2020.

Across the country, HNTB engages in various programs and activities to create awareness with young people to inform them about careers in engineering, architecture and planning. In addition, many HNTB offices work with local organizations and schools to provide job shadowing opportunities for high school students so they may become familiar with potential careers in these fields. HNTB also supports employees who attend career day events at their local schools to present information on careers in engineering and transportation to elementary and middle school-age students.

HNTB has served on, or currently serves, some of the most complex aviation infrastructure projects and programs throughout the U.S., including architect-of-record for Orlando International Airport South Terminal C; planning and concept design for Tampa International Airport automated people mover; program and construction management for Denver International Airport Hotel and Transit Center; planner and structural engineer-of-record for Charlotte-Douglas International Airport parking garages; and architect-of-record and engineer, as part of a design-build team for San Diego International Airport Terminal 2 West Building and Airside Expansion.