Bridge to anywhere

Story by LJ Evans, photos by Todd Paris

Collage of images

To be able to build what we design —

that makes us first-class engineers.

— Pauline Fusco

Regionally speaking, the UAF team was tops at the 2011 Student Steel Bridge Competition. Students from the College of Engineering and Mines won first place overall and in five of six individual categories: efficiency, stiffness, economy, lightness and construction speed.

Each year, students design and build a scale model steel bridge that meets that year’s specifications. They must strictly adhere to a set of complicated rules in the bridge’s design and assembly. The teams are then judged on how quickly, efficiently and well they build their bridge model during the competition, as well as on the design, strength and aesthetics of the structure.

Team co-captain Jennifer Holland welds part of the framework for this year’s steel bridge effort in preparation for the regional competition. The photos on the following pages reflect the anxiety, euphoria and teamwork the students experienced while dominating the regional competition at the University of Alaska Anchorage in April.
Team co-captain Jennifer Holland welds part of the framework for this year’s steel bridge effort in preparation for the regional competition. The photos on the following pages reflect the anxiety, euphoria and teamwork the students experienced while dominating the regional competition at the University of Alaska Anchorage in April.

After proving themselves best in the Pacific Northwest in April, the team moved on to Texas for the national competition in May, where they competed against 48 other teams and won first place in the economy category and seventh place overall.

Team members were Nicholas Brehm, Gordon Dufseth, Pauline Fusco, Jennifer Holland, Jeromy Jones, Louis Landry-Michaud, Aaron Simpson, Greg Smith, Aubrey Swallows, Julien Tessier-Lessard, Stephanie Young and Jason Zottola. Professor Leroy Hulsey and Adjunct Professor Wilhelm Muench were the team advisors. The annual competition is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Institute of Steel Construction.