New York - Capital Region

Regional Coordinator: Addyson Lyons

William S. Hackett Middle School wins $500 grant money for their Future City program

Albany, New York– Albany City School District’s William S. Hackett Middle School was recently awarded a $500 grant stipend from the Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction. Teacher Allison Griner submitted the application in the hopes of using the money in this year’s Future City® Competition.

“We are very excited about Future City this year at Hackett and couldn’t be more thrilled about having that stipend to help further our program,” said teacher Allison Griner. Together, teacher and students have decided to use the grant money towards the purchase of a laptop computer and to go on a field trip. “Currently we are working on narrowing our field trip down to several local STEM locations as well as a larger trip to Boston, New York City, or Philadelphia,” said Griner.

The Hackett Middle School team members include the following students: Elizabeth Alzawara, Ella Hubbell, Adaline Hubbell, Mohammed, Noah Levine, Casey Van Ness, Ingrid Colafati, Sophia Doehla, Josh Martinez, Aramis Vargas, Jean Keefe, Katharine Drury, Dauda Kanneh, Ivelisse Fournier, Josmarie Montanez, Victoria Bryson, Cynthia Villatoro, Lily Kimlicko, and Zoe Harrison.

The students identified building the model and working on the moving part of the model as their favorite aspects of the Future City program. They also enjoy decorating and designing the layout of the city and planning and practicing for the presentation.

The DiscoverE and its Future City Competition received the prize, and its $25,000 honorarium, in recognition to advancement or high achievement in the process of construction: an invention, an innovative methodology, and/or exemplary leadership.

The prize honorarium helps DiscoverE continue and expand its commitment to diversity and gender equality. Nationally, 49% of participants in the Future City Competition are girls, and 33% of participating schools have 50% or more of their students enrolled in their reduced or free lunch program. William S. Hackett Middle School reported 48% of its students enrolled in the free lunch program in 2014-2015 according to the State Education website.

When the DiscoverE and Future City-National program were awarded the $25,000, they intended to provide stipends for educators in under-served schools and communities. They identified the Capital District region as one geographic area nationally that they wanted to dedicate $500 in funding.

“Engineers solve the world’s problems and the Future City Competition is doing its part to encourage students to make the built environment—and in turn, the world—a better place,” said Chris McFadden, Turner Vice President and member of the prize jury. “The program is also strongly aligned with Turner’s own goals for education, which makes it a very natural fit. Future City connects with an incredibly diverse range of students, providing the kind of exciting, hands-on experiences, resources, and mentorship that can make the difference between pursuing further education toward a STEM career or not. We’re proud to support and elevate the great work they’re doing by presenting them with the Turner Prize.”

This is the second year that the William S. Hackett Middle School students have participated in the Future City Competition, although their teacher Allison Griner has participated in the program for longer. Last year Hackett won the region’s award for “Rookie of the Year” and “Best Use of Construction Materials.” Last year Hackett’s Future City team was comprised 100% of all young women.

Future City is the 14th recipient of the Turner Prize, which has been awarded in the past to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the Engineering Department at Pennsylvania State University, Leslie Robertson, I.M. Pei, Charles DeBeneditis, The U.S. Green Building Council, Paul Teicholz, Gehry Partners and Gehry Technologies, Charlie Thornton, Engineers Without Borders-USA, Caterpillar, Inc., Society of Women Engineers, and the Lean Construction Institute.

About Discover E and Future City

DiscoverE is leading a growing volunteer movement that inspires and informs present and future generations to discover engineering. Their network of volunteers in the US and abroad is drawn from the DiscoverE coalition of more than 100 professional societies, major corporations and government agencies. Together they meet a vital need: introducing students, parents, and educators to engineering, engaging them in hands-on engineering experiences, and making science and math relevant. For more information visit

The Future City is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. It is a project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. The Future City program serves over 40,000 students annually throughout the United States and abroad. This year the

Future City Competition asks middle school students to address the Power of Public Space and challenges them to design innovative, multi-use public spaces that serves a city’s diverse population.

This year’s regional competition will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at Proctor’s Theater in Schenectady. This past year there were a total of 20 schools and 21 teams, with a total of 300 local students competition in the regional competition.  The New Lebanon Jr/Sr High School won the 2015-16 Regional Capital District Future City Competition and represented our area at the national competition in Washington D.C. 

About Turner Construction Company

Turner is a North America-based, international construction services company. Founded in 1902, Turner first made its mark on the industry pioneering the use of steel-reinforced concrete for general building, which enabled the company to deliver safer, stronger, and more efficient buildings to clients. The company continues to embrace emerging technologies and offers an increasingly diverse set of services. With an annual construction volume of $11 billion, Turner is the largest builder in the United States, ranking first in the major market segments of the building construction field, including healthcare, education, sports, commercial, and green building. The firm is a subsidiary of HOCHTIEF, one of the world’s leading international construction service providers. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Christine Kingery
Public Relations Chair, Future City Competition
Director of Marketing, Spectra Environmental Group
19 British American Blvd. | Latham, NY 12110
(518) 782-0882 |

Geena Pandolfi
Sayles & Winnikoff Communications
212-725-5200 x112