On Saturday, November 11, the Shamrock STEM Ambassador Corps student organization launched a new monthly STEM Career Series, featuring kickoff speaker Mohammed Alghurabi, Senior Project Manager of the Gordie Howe Bridge.
“This bridge and border crossing is a once-in-a-lifetime type of project. It involves six elements, so it’s not just one. We’re connecting Interstate I-75 to the Customs Plaza. That’s where you process people and services across the border to our neighbor, Canada. And then we have the bridge itself, which is a cable-stayed, six-lane, three-in-each-direction bridge, and then we have a Canadian Customs Plaza on the Canadian side. Ultimately, it goes to the 401 Highway in Canada, which can go directly to Toronto or any other major city in Canada. So, it’s freeway to freeway connection that is upcoming and there’s a lot to learn from that experience,” stated Mr. Alghurabi.
Mr. Alghurabi spoke to CC students from 10 am until 11 am and then answered questions. The Shamrock STEM Ambassador Corps team met after the talk to discuss what they learned during the presentation and explore bridge building that they will do during outreach. Using what they learned about the science behind bridge building, they will put their knowledge into action next semester by being STEM Ambassadors at local Catholic grade schools.
“We at Catholic Central were honored to have Mr. Alghurabi here to educate us about the Gordie Howe Bridge. The intricacies we learned about the engineering behind the bridge, economic development, international relations, and logistics were very valuable and will help some of our students decide if they'd like to aim in any of those directions career-wise. I'd also like to thank the Chairman of the CC Board of Directors, Mr. Carmine Palombo ‘70, for connecting us with Mr. Alghurabi,” stated Amy Ely, Director of STEM and Shamrock STEM Ambassador Corps moderator.
A native of Iraq, Mr. Alghurabi came to Detroit in 1984 and earned his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from Wayne State. In 1994, he joined MDOT and worked in a route location before becoming a project manager. Although he has worked on several large projects, Mr. Alghurabi is best known for managing Michigan’s efforts to build a bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. The project has been known by many names over the years but is now formally called the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB).
The Shamrock STEM Ambassador Corps meets for two to three hours one Saturday per month. The goal of the student organization is to educate members and raise awareness of the various career areas in STEM fields. Students take what they learn from meetings and speaker series events and perform community outreach at local elementary and middle schools.
The STEM Career Series brings in industry experts and has them present information about their field. Anyone is welcome to attend these events, but Corps students stay after the speaker is done and learn an outreach activity relating to the speaker’s session. They will then engage with the community using these hands-on STEM activities. Corps students who become competent in the various STEM areas can earn community service hours while participating in the outreach program.
For those who are interested in following Mr. Alghurabi’s footsteps, he recommends going to the Gordie Howe Bridge website to learn more about bridge building.
“The website is live and has drone type of footage, updates to the community and activities, and public meetings. You name it, it’s all in one place. We’re also on all kinds of social media. We’re on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, all of them. So, I ask that students get plugged in and sign up with an email or however they want to sign in and stay connected,” Mr. Alghurabi stated.
The next Shamrock STEM Career Series will be held in December. Stay tuned for more information by following @DCCSTEM on social media.
Students who are interested in joining the Shamrock STEM Ambassador Corps student organization may contact moderator Amy Ely, Director of STEM, at firstname.lastname@example.org.