Menzer Pehlivan in Seattle
The IMAX film Dream Big from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and narrated by Jeff Bridges begins with the story of Menzer Pehlivan, who survived an earthquake in Turkey when she was 13 years old. That traumatic experience inspired her to become a geotechnical engineer who works on making buildings safer in earthquakes. She teaches kids about her work using a hands-on activity called the Seismic Shakeup, which the Society of Women Engineers, one of the film’s partners, uses in its outreach events.
The 42-minute film, released just before Engineers Week, takes its audience to China to visit the Great Wall and explains why an ingredient added to the mortar has helped the wall last for centuries. Hint: you can eat it. Shanghai, a city of 24 million people, is the next stop. The Shanghai Tower is 124 stories, and engineers have come up with a simple, yet ingenious way for the tall building to handle high winds.
Avery Bang in Haiti
Then, Dream Big introduces us to Avery Bang, President and CEO of Bridges to Prosperity. She has a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her nonprofit organization builds footbridges over rivers to help people in isolated areas access education, health care, and economic opportunities.
Angelica Hernandez in Phoenix
Finally, the film wraps up with Angelica Hernandez, who studied mechanical engineering at Arizona State and graduated from Stanford University with a Master’s of Science in Atmosphere and Energy in 2014. Hernandez works for Nexant, Inc. on clean energy solutions, and in her free time, she mentors students and teaches them robotics.
Greg MacGillivray, Dream Big’s director and cinematographer, told the Seattle Times he wanted to create a film for “kids of all ages, especially girls” to inspire them to consider a career in engineering and make world a better place.
The film ends with the line, “Engineer means ingenious.” How true.