On January 29, 2016 the Chapter’s Transportation YOU program organized a tour of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Warm Springs Station for a group of six girls from Girls Inc. of Alameda County. The girls were joined by WTS volunteers Shirley Douglas, Katie Magee, and Leisa Nalls. This field trip gave the group a behind-the-scenes look at the BART Warm Springs Station before it opens to the public later this year.
The girls were greeted out front by BART project staff, including Resident Engineer Nicole Tocchini, Public Relations Lead Dianne Castleberry, and Electrical Engineer Daniel Nhon. Starting with an explanation of the bio swales installed throughout the parking lot, the tour moved through the station concourse where the girls saw the installation of ticket machines, the future employee-only backrooms, and the platforms.
The station tour concluded with a look at the on-site testing center, where the train control system was in the process of being tested. Daniel explained the complex and extensive testing that must be done of the train control system before the station may open to the public. Following the station tour, the group had lunch in the project office, where additional members from the project team, including BART project managers, an environmental scientist and contractor team members, provided a great presentation of the station project history, construction photos, and other project details.
“The girls had a great time at the field trip. They were really engaged and learned a lot,” said Danielle Stanton, who runs the Eureka! Program at Girls Inc. This program provides hands-on achievement opportunities in science, technology, engineering, math, and college and career preparation to approximately 180 underserved girls in Alameda County.
“Exposing our girls to different STEM careers that they would either know little to nothing about, or not have a clear interest in is one of our main objectives for the Eureka! Program,” said Stanton. She said the girls who attended the field trip were surprised when learning about the different types of engineering jobs that are available.
“Something that surprised me was that there were a lot of females in the engineering field,” said eighth-grader Briauna Berry.
The presenters discussed their personal backgrounds and how they choose the transportation field, giving the girls great information on the diverse career opportunities in transportation. The visit concluded with a vigorous Q&A session.
“Our partnership with WTS has afforded us the opportunity to introduce our girls to many different careers in transportation with an emphasis on women in those careers,” Stanton said. “Our girls always walk away from the experiences in awe, and feeling empowered to pursue majors and careers that they initially hadn’t considered.”