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Q&A Sep 7, 2022

Soaking up the STEAM of Summer: A Q&A with STEAM Camp Mentor Bryce Youngson

Get to know Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Engineering and Construction Camp Mentor and Jacobs Mechanical Engineer Bryce Youngson

Q&A with Bryce Youngson Jacobs Mechanical Engineer, Society of American Military Engineers Engineering and Construction Camp Mentor

Summer isn’t the only thing STEAM-ing up this time of year. Jacobs Mechanical Engineer Bryce Youngson joined students from around the country as they headed to the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Engineering and Construction Camp. As the only civilian mentor, Bryce had the opportunity to spend a week eating, sleeping and learning alongside the students. We caught up with Bryce for this feature as he discussed his experiences with mentorship, STEAM and camp life.

Let's talk with Bryce:

Tell us a bit about your career background and role at Jacobs.

I interned at Jacobs as a senior in college. I enjoyed my internship experience and was offered a full-time position as a Mechanical Designer once I finished my degree. I spent two years designing HVAC and plumbing systems for federal building projects before receiving my professional engineering license in the state of California and being promoted to mechanical engineer.

What inspired you to pursue a career in STEAM?

I don’t think there was one moment that inspired my career, but I had a lot of inspiration throughout my childhood. The area I grew up in developed rapidly. When I would go on walks with my parents, we would pass construction sites, and they would encourage me to explore all the equipment and machinery. My grandfather was also an architect, so I was exposed to his projects and the environment that he worked in.

As a teenager, I enjoyed working on my car and playing the guitar. I loved hands-on creative experiences and STEAM allowed me to marry my creative side with my technical side.

Tell us about how you got involved at the SAME STEAM Camp?

The camp was looking for an additional counselor in the Southern California area and my supervisor shared the opportunity with me. As someone who works on Navy projects, I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet Navy personnel and learn more about the Naval Construction Battalion Center in Port Hueneme, California. The center is the home of the Navy Seabees, so it was interesting to learn about their history and experiences throughout the camp. I was the only civilian mentor, so I hope there will be more chances for civilians to get involved in these types of camps in the future. 

What was it like at camp?

It was a lot of fun, but I was nervous going into it because I don’t feel much older than I did in high school, so I didn’t really know what mentoring the campers would be like. I had such a great time, and I really enjoyed sharing my interest and passion for engineering with the students. The students came from all over the country, even Guam and Alaska, so it was a very diverse group. I hauled 10 of them around in a van from activity to activity for a whole week, so there were plenty of mentorship opportunities. I feel like I learned a lot from the experience.

What is your favorite part about mentoring the next generation?

My favorite part was sharing my passion for engineering with the students while knowing that they might end up on a completely different path. The more exposure they get to different types of opportunities and career paths, the easier it will be for them to decide when it becomes their own call.

As a high schooler, I didn’t know there were so many different fields of engineering. I didn’t really know what the differences were either, and I ended up changing my major in college. I think it’s great that these students will better understand what engineering looks like in the real world.

Can you share a memorable camp story?

The camp gave the students a theoretical mission as part of the curriculum. The mission tackled redesigning roads and other infrastructure components after a natural disaster. One of the most memorable parts of the camp was supervising the students as they designed and built concrete beams using the basic principles of stress that they learned in class, and a limited number of materials.

After they built the beams, we tested their strength at a Navy facility. The best part was seeing the satisfaction and accomplishment on the group’s faces as some of their beams supported up to 6,000 pounds! I think for a lot of the students, this was the moment that engineering really clicked. They could see the real-world applications of engineering and that being an engineer isn’t out of reach.

What excites you about the future of STEAM?

I think what is exciting is that it is almost impossible to predict the future of STEAM. Just during my time in college, there was the first successful use of the reusable rocket, and mass-produced electric vehicles became popular. That was just in four years, and before my time in school, those technologies were in their infancy. What is exciting is that everything can change in a blink of an eye, and I look forward to seeing where STEAM goes next.

“As a high schooler, I didn’t know there were so many kinds of engineers. I didn’t really know what the differences were, and I ended up changing my major. I think it’s great that these students will better understand what engineering looks like in the real world.”

Bryce Youngson

Bryce Youngson

Jacobs Mechanical Engineer

What advice would you give to young professionals?

My best piece of advice is to have patience. You might not immediately find meaning in your career or realize that you like something. The longer you stick with it, the more you learn about it, the more responsibility you’ll be given, and the more you may find meaning.

You are put on these fast-paced projects and assignments as a college student. In the industry, though, things are a bit different. You might not be placed on a project you love right away. It is important to have patience because even if it’s not your favorite, you will gain a lot of experience. Then hopefully, everything will click.

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?

The people I work with and the collaborative environment. I love working on a project with a big team working towards the same goal

I also think it is exciting that there are so many opportunities to work on different projects and programs because Jacobs is so large. You can have the chance to work on something that you would never be able to at a smaller firm.

About the interviewee

Bryce Youngson

Bryce Youngson is a licensed mechanical engineer designing HVAC, and plumbing systems for the Federal & Environmental Solutions team in Irvine, California. Originally from Temecula, California, he attended California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, playing guitar and camping.

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