Kids Learn Building Blocks of Engineering at Queens Library

A local engineering firm is giving back to the Queens Library in hopes of inspiring the next generation of bright minds. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.

Daniela Dell-Daquin is only 8 years old, but she's already learning the building blocks of engineering.

The gumdrop dome challenges kids to build a strong structure to withhold weight using just candy and toothpicks, and wooden blocks mimic a bridge, teaching the basics of structural engineering.

"The goal is to see how much pennies you can fit on the pieces paper before the piece of paper drops off the block," Dell-Daquin said.

It's all part of the Queens Library's second annual Engineering Day. Volunteers from HAKS Engineering firm taught hands-on STEM activities at the Children's Library Discovery Center in Jamaica.

"You kind of take for granted looking at structures that are built in your everyday environment but building with gumdrops and toothpicks actually kind of mimic what we do in everyday but with steel and concrete," said Ken Mangam, vice president of the design department at HAKS.

The initiative comes from HAKS' CEO, Husam Ahmad. He immigrated to Queens from Bangladesh before starting the firm in 1991.

Ahmad recently donated $50,000 to the library's Global Commons program, which offers educational programming to the borough's diverse residents.

"The parents are immigrants, so they can't necessarily afford to buy the books and send their kids to a good institution of coaching and all that," Ahmad said. "So I think they get all the resources and help here."

Ahmad says the Central Library branch has a special place in his heart. He spent many weekends here studying as a college student.

"Study, look for references and try to be a head of my class and stuff like that. And that helped me, I think," he said.

Staff members say fun hands on programming like this can help foster the next generation of bright minds.

"This can be fun for them, and it's something that maybe they can think about as part of the rest of their life as well," said Bridget Quinn-Carey, interim president of Queens Library.​

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