On the Road


Women in Asphalt: The Next Generation

Recently, I had the privilege of judging the Mississippi Regional Science and Engineering Fair. While there, I had the opportunity to meet 10-year-old Gianna Morales, a fifth grader at Bayou View Elementary in Gulfport, MS. She is an honor student who loves math, soccer and Nickelodeon. And, she thinks asphalt is “pretty cool.”
Asphalt science project

Gianna’s project (which received first place at her school’s science fair) examined OGFC asphalt and hot mix asphalt. Her question:

Will the porous OGFC asphalt be smoother than the hot mix asphalt surface?

When asked about her findings, she replied “I found out that the OGFC asphalt has more voids and spaces (which allow water to drain) than the surface asphalt. The conclusion was that the OGFC asphalt was smoother than the hot mix asphalt.”
Asphalt science experiment

So, what inspired her project? “My dad,” Gianna answered. “He works in a construction company, and I thought it would be kind of cool to test different asphalt. I thought it was interesting,” she concluded.

Gianna’s father, Carlos Morales, is a project manager and estimator for Mallette Brothers Construction Co. Since Mallette Brothers is a Blacklidge customer, Gianna used UltraFuse in her project.
Asphalt smoothness testing

What does Carlos think about his daughter’s project? “She turned in her hypothesis and question [before I knew about the project] so it was actually a surprise to me. A great surprise. I am so proud,” he replied.

Is a career in asphalt in Gianna’s future? When asked what she wants to do when she grows up, she replied, “I want to be a scientist. A forensic scientist. I think it’s very interesting.”
Road smoothness testing

I’m hoping she has a change of heart. This smart, inspiring young lady is exactly what we need in the asphalt industry. Congratulations and good luck in your future endeavors, Gianna! Whatever career path you choose will be lucky to have you.


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