Jusean Archibald has always had an interest in math and science. Now with a career as a project engineer with PARIC Corporation, he gives back to the community through Building Futures, a non-profit organization in Old North St. Louis that teaches children design and building skills and introduces them to potential career opportunities.
Tell me about how you became interested in engineering and the work you do now as a project engineer with Paric?
Math and science were always my strongest academic areas. Studying engineering was the most natural fit for me. I work as part of the onsite management team constructing a 29-story high rise apartment building at the Ballpark Village site.
Building Futures is about teaching young people design and building skills and introduces them to career opportunities for the future. How did you become involved in the organization, and describe the importance of the work?
A wonderful woman at Sts. Teresa and Bridget Parish named Sister Pat Bober, CSJ, introduced me to Building Futures. She sends her summer school kids to the program and the organization was in need of volunteers who would be committed to coming consistently.
Building Futures’ mission is centered around progressing the lives of young people through design, problem solving and building. Expanding the capabilities of youth in our community who may not have access to means to learn new skills is a challenge that we have taken head on. The organization also fills the needs of numerous St. Louis City Schools with underfunded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, contracting with schools to teach our program as part of their curriculum. The program has given me a deeper understanding to how injecting our time and resources at a small scale can have a lasting impact.
How does your faith guide you in your volunteer work?
Christ’s original occupation was a builder, and in my mind that was not a coincidence. Successful builders are patient, sensitive to details, and look beyond the obvious to solve problems. I take this approach to not always focus on teaching a new skill, but to look beyond and recognize what will reach our young people. For some that’s a meal or a hug or someone they can confide in. Teaching is always more effective when the basic needs are met.
Why is it important to introduce engineering and other STEM concepts to young people?
Our homes, ours cars, our workplaces are being integrated with more and more technology. The younger generation was born into a technology dependent society and STEM studies drive that development. Building Futures is fortunate to have to volunteers with educational, industry, and service-oriented backgrounds keeping our programs well rounded.
Parish: St. Matthew the Apostle
Education: Trinity Catholic High School, Missouri University of Science and Technology