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October 28, 2013


George Hazimanolis, WQED


PITTSBURGH—Over the last four years WQED has engaged several hundred middle school students through its Design Lives Here program aimed at encouraging area kids to learn more about and consider a profession in engineering.

Traditionally held from January through April, Design Lives Here is expanding this year to include two sessions for the program – Fall and Spring. For the first time, local students, teachers and engineering mentors began the program in the fall, giving them the opportunity to start earlier and, in many cases, continue throughout the school year. The current session of Design Lives Here includes seven returning schools and after-school programs with 360 students in grades 5-8. Participating educators and students will utilize activities and content from Design Squad Nation episodes and interactive resources, with support from local engineers, to learn about the engineering design process and complete a number of engineering challenges throughout the fall semester. Made possible by Bombardier, GlaxoSmithKline and American Bridge, Design Lives Here is presented by WQED in partnership with the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP) and Inventionland.

“Over the last four years, we’ve worked with more than 1,000 students, many of whom are underrepresented in careers in engineering,” said Jennifer Stancil, Executive Director of Educational Partnerships at WQED. “STEM careers are vital to the region; we’re sparking kids’ interest in engineering, design, and the process of thinking scientifically to solve problems. The traction we’ve gained with schools and afterschool programs makes us think we can continue to scale up the program for greater impact.” According to Design Lives Here partner Erika Pickett, of the YWCA TechGYRLS program, “Currently there is nothing else like it. It is comprehensive, hands-on learning for children of all ages. It makes an engineering career seem attainable and “cool” to the next generation.”

The fall session participants will convene on Friday, November 8 for “Invention Convention,” a day-long competition event that includes three hands-on engineering challenge activities and the opportunity to speak with the engineering mentors and staff. Students will be grouped into teams across schools and given challenges such as Zip Line where they are challenged to design and build something that can carry a Ping-Pong ball from the top of a zip line string to the bottom in four seconds or less using a limited supply of materials. The challenge activities are supported by local engineering mentors, giving students and teachers the opportunity to interact with professional engineers throughout the day. In addition to the on-site engineering challenges, students complete one final challenge – the Invention Challenge. Prior to attending Invention Convention, students will identify a problem in one of seven invention categories (kitchen, outdoor, pets, sports, toys (non-electronic), vehicle design and transportation, wearables and sewing), invent a solution to that problem, and illustrate or build a paper prototype model of their invention. Students will then have the opportunity to “pitch” their products to the professional inventors at Inventionland and receive feedback and coaching on their designs.

Participating schools include:

• Franklin Regional Middle School
• Haine Middle School, Seneca Valley School District
• Investing Now – The Legacy STEM Project (after-school program)
• Marshall Middle School, North Allegheny School District
• St. Philip School
• The Ellis School
• West Mifflin Area Middle School

Design Lives Here is a student outreach competition based on the PBS show Design Squad Nation, a reality-style program created to “inspire the next generation of engineers.” The show features teens engaged in challenges all over the United States and globe, vying for scholarships by designing devices to understand the complex – and compelling – world of engineering.


Photo opportunities are available on Friday, November 8, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Inventionland located at RIDC Park, 585 Alpha Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15238. A copy of the day’s agenda is available by request to mpisano@wqed.org. Please note that you will have to sign a waiver to enter the building.

If you are planning to come on November 8, please contact the following for access into the building:
• Maria Pisano, WQED

About WQED Pittsburgh
WQED Pittsburgh
has a proud history of honors, including 140 National and Mid-Atlantic Emmy® Awards, an Academy Award, and many, many others, including two Emmy® Awards for Station Excellence. WQED was founded in 1954 as the nation’s first community-supported broadcaster. WQED changes lives by creating and sharing outstanding public media that educates, entertains and inspires. It is the parent company of WQED-TV (PBS); WQED: The Neighborhood Channel; WQED: The Create Channel; WQED Showcase; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at www.wqedfm.org; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive (www.wqed.org) and iQ: smartmedia, WQED’s Educational initiative (www.wqed.org/edu).

About Bombardier
is the world’s only manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.

Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indexes. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, we posted revenues of $16.8 billion. News and information are available at www.bombardier.com or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

About GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by helping people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.

About American Bridge
American Bridge
is a vertically integrated construction and engineering, company that is the industry leader in technical capability, innovation and profitability. The company specializes in technically and logistically complex projects of all sizes. It develops unique and innovative engineering methods for the erection of cable supported, movable, arch, truss and other complex structures, and for the repair, retrofit and maintenance of bridges of all types. American Bridge is a high value added organization that self-performs the majority of the contracts it undertakes. Projects include bridges of all types and coastal marine construction. The company also manufactures a range of structural steel and precast concrete products, as well as specialized erection equipment. Contract types primarily include lump sum, design-build, general contracting and supply only. The company is also involved with the pursuit of PPP (public/private partnership) and O & M (operations and maintenance) contracts. American Bridge Company operates throughout the United States and on select projects worldwide. American Bridge serves the stable and steadily growing transportation, infrastructure, military and industrial markets.

About Inventionland
- Created by George Davison, CEO and Founder of Davison, Inventionland is the largest invention factory in America. The 75,000 square-foot invention destination houses 16-themed work spaces that inspire creativity and help make dreams come true. It is the only full-service invention facility where both individuals and corporations can develop a product idea from start to finish, all under one roof. Inventionland services include product and packaging design, research & development to create the more than 1,700 new product prototypes it turns out a year. www.inventionland.com.

About The Engineer’s Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP)
The Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania (ESWP)
has provided a forum for the professional development and social interaction of its members for more than a century. Headquartered in an historic landmark building and club facility, the ESWP is chartered to advance the professions of engineering, architecture and applied sciences through technical activities, public services participation and social organizations. It also supports the needs of industries, communities and government in Western Pennsylvania. The ESWP is a non-profit organization with more than 850 members representing more than 400 local, national and global firms. Learn more about ESWP and our other STEM initiatives at www.eswp.com.

About Design Squad Nation
Design Squad Nation
is a 10-part series of TV shows and video blogs that build on the success of the award-winning PBS reality competition series Design Squad to get kids excited about engineering. Design Squad Nation is high-energy, high-drama reality TV led by Judy and Adam, two professional engineers who work with kids around the world to make their wishes come true through engineering. From creating a park for skaters at the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona to building a playground in a rural village in Nicaragua's northern mountains, the goal of Design Squad Nation is to inspire viewers to take on their own hands-on engineering activities.

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WQED Pittsburgh
4802 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Key Contacts

George Hazimanolis
Senior Director of
Corporate Communications


Maria Pisano
Marketing Associate


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