ASCE Goal Achieved: Every U.S. Public School to Get Dream Big Toolkits

It’s been almost two years since Dream Big: Engineering Our World began amazing kids and adults alike on big screens at museums and theaters across the world.

Since then, the film – presented by Bechtel and produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films in partnership with ASCE – has enjoyed quite a ride of success, smashing attendance goals, scoring big with critics, inspiring ASCE outreach events all over the world, and streaming on Netflix.

And now, Dream Big celebrates another massive milestone: ASCE has reached its goal of putting Dream Big DVD educational toolkits into every U.S. public school.

The toolkits include the film itself (in multiple languages and licensed for educational screening), a teacher’s guide, and additional educational videos.

With an initial grant from the United Engineering Foundation to cover distribution to all high schools, ASCE Sections and Branches across the country worked throughout 2018 to make and collect contributions so that elementary and middle schools would also receive toolkits. With 75% of schools covered by the deadline (which was driven by contractual agreements with the film’s distributor), the ASCE Foundation contributed the funds needs to ensure that every school would be included.

“The Foundation board was inspired by the incredible efforts of ASCE members to ensure that all children would be reached through Dream Big’s mission of educating and inspiring children through the wonders of civil engineering,” according to Gerry Schwartz, PhD, P.E., Pres.ASCE.02, president of the ASCE Foundation. “Ensuring that ASCE has the funds needed to help its members make meaningful change in the world is the purpose of the ASCE Foundation, and this project clearly does that.”

“I am extremely grateful to the ASCE members, Sections and Branches who worked so hard to help us reach this ambitious goal,” said ASCE President Robin Kemper, P.E., F.ASCE. “And also to the ASCE Foundation for its generous support.”

“ASCE is able to accomplish so much in part because of the members who give to our Foundation,” Kemper added. “I encourage those members who did not contribute to the DVD school campaign to make a donation to the Foundation now to help replenish the coffers. That way, when the next opportunity to make a difference comes along, we’ll have the resources we need.”

Three-fourths of public schools already have received the film and educational toolkits. The remaining distribution will be complete by June 2019. In addition to the public schools, several thousand are also going to private schools as well as international destinations.

Monica Morales, a leader in the ASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum, has organized several Dream Big events for children across Southern California over the last two years.

“I’ve seen Dream Big 30-plus times now and shown it to thousands of students from many different schools across Los Angeles, and I still get choked up when Angelica [Hernandez, a featured engineer in the film] is telling her story about her teacher being a big supporter of hers,” Morales said. “Every time I get choked up, because it reminds me of my teachers who were huge mentors and support systems for me. Coming from a low-income area, it resonates with me so much. I tear up during the movie no matter how many times I’ve seen it – it’s ridiculous.

“It’s just another aspect of why that movie is so great. Now I can show the movie and talk about my career path with the students.”

Meanwhile, ASCE Younger Member Garit Poire helped organize the Florida Section’s Great Give program, which raised funds to put the toolkits in every Florida public school.

Dream Big is a testament that you can be any gender, nationality, or orientation and be an engineer who makes a mark,” Poire said.

“Every child is owed the opportunity to see that they can be that person too.”

See for a list of Sections, Branches, companies, and individuals who contributed to this successful campaign. To make a donation to the ASCE Foundation, visit

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  1. Many young people have no idea what they want to be or even what professions there are out there.
    The availability of Dream Big in every school may be just that inspiration. Hats off to all those who made it happen.


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