Engineers Alliance for the Arts (EAA)

Since 2015, ZFA has worked with Engineers Alliance for the Arts (EAA) to inspire and educate high school students about structural engineering and design. Students participate in a 10-week Student Impact Project in which they design and construct a scale bridge model based on a set of provided specifications. ZFA staff, primarily from our Silicon Valley and Napa offices, have worked as mentors for the duration of the course, introducing students to structural engineering principles and providing guidance and feedback on their bridges.

Each year, the hands-on program culminates in a Bay Area-wide competition, where students from participating schools gather to present their bridges to a panel of judges and test the bridges’ structural integrity. For two consecutive years, one of ZFA’s partner schools, Carlmont High School, won “Best in Show.” ZFA is also proud to have had a few of our engineers serve on judging panels. It is rewarding to share our knowledge with future engineers and work hands-on with students throughout the Bay Area.

Tech Trek

Tech Trek is a week-long summer camp sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). These programs take place on university campuses across the United States, providing hands-on, problem-solving experiences for middle school girls. Tech Trek camps are centered on AAUW research, designed to make STEM fields fun and engaging. Campers take on fun projects, meet women who are STEM professionals, and learn about STEM career paths, from medicine to engineering. According to former Tech Trek campers, 73% of survey respondents said the program introduced them to a STEM college major they didn’t previously know about, while 87% said they learned about a new STEM career option.

Tech Trek Sonoma State showcases the field of structural engineering to campers by introducing them to female engineers from ZFA’s Santa Rosa office, along with many other professional women in STEM fields. We speak about the field of structural engineering, while engaging with questions from campers. We also discuss the college degree path to structural engineering, different types of projects in this field, and the design and construction process. The last part of our presentation consists of tips and tricks for building strong structures. These come in handy for campers as the much anticipated “Build It Night” approaches.

“Build It Night,” the culminating project of Tech Trek camp at Sonoma State, challenges campers to construct absolutely anything out of rolled newspapers and tape. “Build It” structures have ranged from towers, to swing sets, to oversized cameras!

ZFA is proud to be part of this valuable program, which fosters creativity, confidence, and curiosity—we look forward to seeing the great things that come from the next generation of women in STEM.


At ZFA, we believe that having people from diverse backgrounds in engineering makes our company and industry stronger, more creative, and more resilient. This is why ZFA has committed to supporting underrepresented students who are striving to complete civil and structural engineering degree programs. In partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and 10,000 Degrees, we have had the honor of providing scholarships for many promising students.

Some of ZFA’s most rewarding work has been in conjunction with 10,000 Degrees. Beyond providing renewable scholarships, this organization offers a comprehensive support system for low-income students in high school, through college, and into their early careers. The navigation assistance and support of 10,000 Degrees is invaluable for participants and many students are the first in their family to complete a college degree. Through this program, ZFA staff engages with students by way of career panels, office visits, and one-on-one mentorship opportunities. Several ZFA staff who are first-generation college grads have welcomed the opportunity to share their own unique experiences and encourage the next generation to join the engineering profession.

Mike Hauser Academy

Since 2020, ZFA has participated in the three-week summer school program offered by Mike Hauser Academy (MHA), in collaboration with the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber. The MHA brings students, businesses, and teachers together to empower the next generation of leaders in STEM fields. The program provides incoming 9th grade English Language Learner (ELL) students, and students who could benefit from extra math and science support, the opportunity to visit STEM-related companies where they interact with engineers and professionals.

Each year, ZFA engineers meet with students in the MHA program and share about their path to becoming an engineer, while discussing their passions and introducing key engineering concepts. Students participate in six workshops led by local STEM professionals—a popular workshop is a team-building competition to build the strongest tower made of toothpicks and gumdrops!

ZFA is delighted to contribute our expertise and enthusiasm to the MHA program, aiming to inspire young graduates towards successful careers in STEM and nurturing their potential as future leaders.