In June 2014, the Vertica summer interns headed to the East End House in East Cambridge, MA to work with students through a community service project. Sarah Perkins, a business planner on the Project Management team, organized the project. Since 1875, the East End House has offered innovative programs to the community and continues to strive for excellence. Their programs help support families and individuals through curricula that enhance education standards. Programming supports the whole family with comprehensive services like a Food Pantry, Community Workshops, Parent Education and Senior Programming.
The interns, accompanied by mentors Sarah Lemaire and Jaimin Dave, helped students build bridges with very limited materials: fifty gumdrops and one hundred toothpicks! The goal was to build a bridge that spanned a six-inch gap and would hold at least 300 grams, or 120 pennies.
Teams of interns paired up to work with four students, ranging from third to eighth grade. They watched and assisted as the students discussed strategies, drew prototypes, and started to build and re-build their structures. As the students worked on their bridges, they got to know more about the Vertica interns, including their majors, hometowns, and the projects they are working on for the summer. Throughout the course of the day, if students could correctly answer questions about their interns, they would win Vertica swag, including toy bulldozers, stress balls, flashlights, and more.
Once the bridges were built, the interns and students tested them across a six-inch gap. Students placed pennies on a paper plate on top of the bridge, one-by-one, until the bridge collapsed under the weight. The winning team?s bridge, led by interns Swikriti Jain and Jun Yin, held 255 pennies, which weigh more than 1 1/3 pounds! The top two teams won a bundle of Vertica swag, including t-shirts, water bottles, and baseballs.
The Vertica interns had a great time learning about students at the East End House, and helping them build successful bridges. It was a unique opportunity to interact with students of many ages, while also encouraging them to remain active in school and participate in extracurricular activities.