• Middle & High School Student Winners Announced at the University of South Florida College of Engineering’s Bridge Building Competition

    Bridge Building Event

    Sponsored by Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority

    TAMPA, FL.  (February 23, 2017) — As part of the University of South Florida’s (USF) Engineering Expo last weekend, the (USF) College of Engineering and the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) sponsored the annual Bridge-Building Competition. The competition’s theme of Design It, Build It, Break It! allows teams of three students to design and build model bridges from Balsa wood and then test their load capacities.

    There were over 30 teams competing with a mix of boys and girls in middle school and high school throughout Tampa Bay. The competition was fierce as the teams tested the strength of their Balsa wood creations.    Thanks to Chuck Henson, Traffic Reporter at BayNews9, for agreeing to be the MC for the event and “interviewing” the teams before they stepped up to the strength testing machine.

    Middle School Winners:
    1st Place: Cambridge Christian School Team #1 – 232 lbs.
    2nd Place: Cambridge Christian School Team #2 – 190 lbs.
    3rd Place: Cambridge Christian School Team #3 – 140 lbs.

    High School Winners:
    1st Place: Middleton High School – 108 lbs.
    2nd Place: Pasco High School – 107 lbs.
    3rd Place: Lennard High School – 59 lbs.

    Efficiency Winner:
    Cambridge Christian School Team # 1 – Highest percentage of pounds of pressure as compared to the weight of the bridge

    The USF Bridge-Building competition began in the 1980’s as a student-run project to connect the University to under-represented middle and high school students and provide a fun, extra-educational enrichment opportunity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) philosophies.

    Teachers and student teams are encouraged to watch a video on the competition’s webpage (http://usfbalsabridge.weebly.com/) which provides an opportunity to prepare for the competition and develop lesson plans that incorporate the fields of engineering and design with math and science through bridge building. The design and planning process takes months of work in preparation for the competition.

    “Each year we see the merging of creativity, planning and STEM philosophies as teams strive to find the design that holds up to the strength testing. Teams must work together to merge form with function, just like our engineers do at THEA, taking their classroom learning into a more hands-on experience that becomes a valuable and fun experience for all competitors,” said Sue Chrzan, Communications Director at Expressway Authority.

    Through its partnership with USF, THEA seeks to support community events that provide mentorship, encourage the STEM mindset, and raise the educational opportunities for Tampa Bay area students.  The Bridge-Building Competition is a branch of THEA’s Selmon STEM Scholarship Program, which supports engineering students at USF who are graduates of Hillsborough County high schools through education and exposure to transportation careers.

    For information about the Bridge-Building Competition, visit, tampa-xway.com/giving-back/# or call USF Student, Competition Director, Aleezee True at (954) 980-5998, or email her at usfbalsawoodbridge@gmail.com.

    About Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority
    Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is a user-financed public agency led by a Board of local citizens. Operating with no tax dollars, THEA develops and owns toll highways, including Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, as well as non-tolled roads, including Brandon Parkway and Meridian Avenue.  All tolls collected by THEA are reinvested back into projects in Hillsborough County. For more information, please visit www.tampa-xway.com.

    About USF’s Engineering Expo
    USF’s Engineering Expo seeks to educate K-12 students on the importance of math, science, engineering and technology within their lives. The Engineering Expo is a free event that provides students an opportunity to meet local engineers and engineering student organizations at USF. The Expo also features hands on exhibits and shows that help encourage more students to pursue fields in science and mathematics.