William Walter Smithers

Student and Future Engineer William Walter Smithers

About William Walter Smithers

William Walter Smithers, who previously studied at Bucknell University, is currently working toward his degree in civil engineering at Santa Clara University in California. Anticipating earning his BS in 2016, he has already completed a good deal of relevant coursework. While at Bucknell, he took classes in calculus and physics, as well as fluid mechanics, transportation, differential equations, and various aspects of engineering. William Walter Smithers currently studies topics such as thermodynamics and graphical communications, among others.

Aside from his work in the classroom, Mr. Smithers has prepared for his career through other academic, philanthropic, and professional activities. He belongs to the American Society of Civil Engineers and participates in the Santa Clara University Engineers Without Borders program. He helped design and raise funds for a skate park encompassing 17,000 square feet, and he built a kitchen for an elementary school in Nicaragua. Professionally, he gained invaluable experience in the construction field working for more than two years with Frank Borges Jr. General Contracting.

The St. Helena Skatepark - A Community Project

Currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, William Walter Smithers enjoys the challenges posed by complex problems. He attended Pennsylvania’s Bucknell College for the first two years of his undergraduate work and transferred to Santa Clara University in California in September 2013 to complete his degree. Outside of academics, William Walter Smithers enthusiastically supports several community activities. During his high school years, he was instrumental in the building of a skatepark in his hometown of St. Helena in northern California.

Construction on the St. Helena Skatepark took place in the spring of 2009 in a large area behind the outfield fence of one of Crane Park’s two little league baseball fields. The St. Helena youth and their parents who supported the park traveled a long road before the groundbreaking. They had to overcome two major hurdles: securing approval from the city and raising the money for construction.

Starting in 2006, William Smithers and the other volunteers who made up St. Helena Skatepark, Inc., spoke to all the council members and countless residents, participated in numerous fundraisers, and wrote letters to the newspaper urging support. In addition, they visited local civic organizations like the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, with the dual purposes of demonstrating that negative stereotypes about skaters are highly inaccurate and soliciting contributions for construction.

The efforts of St. Helena Skatepark, Inc., paid off. When construction began, not only had they met all the legal and permitting requirements, but they also had raised enough money—about a million dollars—to build what’s been called one of northern California’s best skate parks. Solidly constructed of concrete, the park includes a pool, several bowls united to make a big bowl, and numerous banks, ledges, and flat bars. The park continues to garner rave reviews. Admission is free and pads and helmets are required.

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