When forest creatures have a problem, they call an engineer

NJIT’s Joseph Vitale, Gabrielle Grompone and Shaun Delaney are some of the civil engineering and digital design students who created the book Roxy the Fox to introduce children to engineering. Credit: NJIT

Charlotte the spider saved a pig’s life through clever marketing. The Cat in the Hat rescued children from a dull day indoors with magical powers of destruction and repair. Roxy the Fox, a newcomer to the pantheon of can-do critters, tapped coveted STEM skills to secure new foraging territory for her forest community.

Exactly how? “She’s the best around and the smartest one yet. There isn’t a single problem she doesn’t get!”

Dreamed up by a team of and digital design students at NJIT, the project-leading fox makes her debut in the recently published “Roxy the Fox and the Tree Truss Bridge.” In it, she assembles a design-and-build crew to construct a bridge that will get her mates – bears, squirrels, beavers and deer – to the delicious berries on the other side of a stream.

Engineering skills are indispensable, as any forest creature knows, but also useful and fun. And that is the point of the book, says Gabrielle Grompone ’17, the writing coordinator.

“I thought it was a great idea to create a book that tells children what an engineer does,” she notes. “It was not until college that I understood what it meant to be an engineer. You go to doctors, so you know what they do, but you don’t run into engineers in the same way. I definitely relate to Roxy.”

Now in a training program at Skanska and on site at LaGuardia Airport, Grompone says she also enjoyed channeling her inner Seuss in the waning days of college. “My first attempt,” she notes.

Credit: New Jersey Institute of…

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