Seismic Outreach

About Seismic Outreach

Seismic Outreach is an annual program that gives UCSD students from all majors the opportunity to reach out to local San Diego 4th through 6th grade classes. As a part of the program, UCSD volunteers have the chance to teach the younger students about earthquake science and engineering. The main objective of Seismic Outreach is to introduce young students to the field of engineering while promoting growth in communication, teamwork, and creativity. To learn more about Seismic Outreach, check out their website and instagram page @ucsd_seismic_outreach!

SCSE’s Seismic Outreach Team hosts the program during the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters of each academic year. The program consist of the following events:

  • Classroom Presentations: Classroom Presentations: UCSD student volunteers visit participating schools to supplement the students' learning, teaching basic concepts regarding earthquake engineering. Students are introduced to the K'NEX design competition, where they form teams to build a simple structure able to withstand a simulated earthquake. In this design-build process, students also create basic construction drafts, architectural drawings, and a short presentation of their work.

  • Field Trips: The students tour UCSD campus, visiting the structural engineering labs, dormitories, and Geisel Library. They then present their structures to UCSD student volunteers, who engage them in a discussion regarding their design. Finally, the K'NEX structures are tested on a shake table, thus teaching students the most effective construction techniques employed.

  • In place of in-person instruction, last year's Seismic Outreach program was conducted virtually with the schools. UCSD volunteers held remote sessions with the classrooms in both live and pre-recorded formats, with over twenty San Diego schools participating in the program. This year, our goal is to recruit more schools for Seismic Outreach with a particular focus on bilingual schools as we have adapted our curriculum to be taught in Spanish. The expansion of this program, especially after a year where many students received virtual instruction, would increase access in science, math, and engineering education to many young students who may otherwise not be exposed to such fields.


Each academic year we host about 15 schools and over 1,800 students -- therefore, this program is ONLY possible through the time and effort put in by volunteers. Volunteers do not need any background experience or knowledge to join the team. Students of all majors and backgrounds are encouraged to volunteer in the program. Why else should you get involved? The experience looks good on your resume. Employers are impressed with those who get involved in outreach programs. It shows investment in younger generations. This is also a great opportunity for underclassmen to get involved in engineering and meet fellow structural engineering students.

Interest Form

If you would like your class or school to be considered for the Seismic Outreach program, please complete the Interest Form

Comments, Questions, Concerns, or Just Curious?

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