Carnegie Mellon University

Leila Bouabdellaoui

June 01, 2023

Bouabdellaoui Volunteers to Bring STEM Ingenuity to Tweens

Leila Bouabdellaoui (CEE/EPP ’13) is volunteering to help tomorrow’s engineers address some of today’s biggest engineering challenges. She’s engaging middle-school students in STEM projects via the Future City Competition (FCC). Not only does FCC spark innovation among tweens, but the organization’s competition also allows students to investigate issues that are pressing, real-world challenges. 

Bouabdellaoui, a transportation project manager for the City of Pittsburgh, became involved with the Future City competition as a volunteer during the 2014-2015 Pittsburgh Regional Competition. “I joined the steering committee in 2016 and haven’t looked back since. We have a great base of local judges and volunteers that make the event possible,” she says.

Her responsibilities include working with the rest of the Pittsburgh regional steering committee to plan the annual competition. This year, she coordinated the pre-event-day judging and scoring.

With nearly a decade of volunteerism under her belt, Bouabdellaoui was especially excited about this year’s competition, which asked students to use the Engineering Design Process (EDP) and their project management skills to propose solutions that address climate change.

The students’ discoveries and innovations remind Bouabdellaoui of her experiences at CEE. She enjoys watching them become familiar with various engineering disciplines—as well as STEM-related and planning occupations.

“The presentation portion of the event dives into a lot of city details (as per the scoring rubric),” she adds. “My CEE education gave me a strong foundation of knowledge regarding many of the core engineering disciplines—in a way that I couldn’t fully appreciate until I became involved in FCC.”

Bouabdellaoui mentions that her favorite part of volunteering is seeing the direct impact of FCC on students. “It is so encouraging to see so much passion directed toward designing a better future. For some students, participating in FCC has been the reason behind their eventual career choices.”

FCC is always seeking new volunteers, and Bouabdellaoui says that competitions are held nationwide. “I strongly recommend volunteering. It has been a wonderful way for me to feel connected to the engineering community.” Learn more about opportunities at Future Cities.