photo of Brooklyn Tech premiere event JM Multimedia Group
Brooklyn Tech High School hosted the Cities of the Future East Coast premiere event May 18.

Cities of the Future, ASCE's new film for IMAX and giant screens, is designed to inspire young students to embrace the power of civil engineering to change the way we live.

Well, with that goal in mind, you'd be hard pressed to find a better place for the movie's East Coast premiere.

On Saturday, May 18, ASCE celebrated Cities of the Future with a gala event at Brooklyn Technical High School, an institution dedicated to giving their students the very tools needed to shape the cities of the future.

In short, ASCE has a movie to get kids fired up about engineering; and Brooklyn Tech has those kids.

“We screened the film for middle school students and high school students in one of, arguably, the best STEM high schools in the nation,” said Paul Lee, one of the civil engineering stars of Cities of the Future who took part in the day’s festivities at Brooklyn Tech.

“For all these big ideas we’re talking about and that we’ve put on the screen: someone's going to need to design; someone's going to need to build; someone's going to need to project-manage. And after meeting these kids, I think they're going to be the ones to do it.

“I think it so likely that one of the students watching this movie today will end up building a real deployment of space solar or a flying taxi network or something into the future that we haven't even thought of yet.”

Cities of the Future, produced by ASCE and MacGillivray Freeman Films (the same team that made Dream Big: Engineering Our World seven years ago), opened on giant screens around the world in February and will continue expanding into new museums and theaters this summer and into 2025.

The film features five young civil engineers exploring the innovative infrastructure around the world that will shape the cities of the future. Two of them – Lee and Diniece Mendes – participated Saturday. It was particularly meaningful for Mendes, director of freight mobility for the New York City Department of Transportation, having grown up in Brooklyn.

Cities of the Future director Greg MacGillivray introduced the film Saturday, and he joined Lee and Mendes in talking with students, answering questions about the film and the civil engineering industry, and touring the school.

photo of the Mendes family JM Multimedia Group
Diniece Mendes and family at the Cities of the Future premiere at Brooklyn Tech.

Brooklyn Tech students select one of 18 majors to focus their studies around during their junior and senior years. Michael Boulis, P.E., M.ASCE, has run the civil engineering program for two decades, giving the students a mix of conceptual and real-world application. Brooklyn Tech has an active ASCE club, an impressive civil engineering lab, and its curriculum incorporates ASCE’s Future World Vision.

“Talking to the students and talking to Mr. Boulis,” said ASCE Past-President Maria Lehman, who spoke at the premier and has made workforce development a key issue during her years as a Society presidential officer, “he’s teaching more in this class than most of our undergraduate programs do.”

The Brooklyn premier follows last month’s Cities of the Future celebration in Los Angeles. And as the movie continues to roll out to new audiences, Lee looks forward to the chance to inspire more and more young students about the wonders of civil engineering.

“For me, it's super exciting,” Lee said. “I've done K-12 outreach my entire ASCE career, so it's near and dear to my heart, seeing kids get excited about engineering.

“It's been a blast. It really means the world to me.”

Learn more about Cities of the Future.