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Engineering students win first prize in online bridge design competition

(May 20, 2004)--The University of Texas at San Antonio student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) won first place for best overall design in the Online National Timber Bridge Design Competition.

The students also took first place honors for most aesthetic design and second place for most innovative design.

Pictured are (top photo, from left) Shamima Akter, Gabriel Shelton, Felix Vegafavela, John Persyn, Justin Schroeder, Albert Boebel, Joshue Ortiz, Quang Luu, Rosa Valdez and Patricio Santamaria. In the lower photo, ASCE students test the timber bridge's weight capacity.

"We're really excited about winning first place the first time that we ever entered the competition," said Gabriel Shelton, ASCE timber bridge project member. "It's a testament to our leadership and organizational skills and I think it helps us do our part to promote UTSA's Department of Civil Engineering."

The 792-pound, 4-foot-by-13-foot timber bridge was designed and constructed in a month by the 10 ASCE students. The bridge passed a competition requirement of supporting 4,500 pounds after testing using concrete and steel scraps gathered at the 1604 Campus. Then, the students submitted their paperwork online.

Funding for the project was provided by UTSA alumnus and structural engineer Roger Martinez of Beicker Martinez Engineering, Inc. Lumber and hardware donations were provided by Jimmy Bourne, vice president and general manager of Allen & Allen Company.

--Kris Rodriguez

University Communications
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