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UTSA Steel Bridge Team
UTSA Steel Bridge Team and the bridge they designed for regional and
national competitions (from left): Team Captain Patricio Santamaria,
Team Manager Bradley Banks, Nneoma Duru-Onweni, Trang Nguyen,
Laura Sewell, Josh Milks, Mario Villarreal, Geronimo Acuna, Alejandra
Acevedo, Gerardo Romero and Nick Taylor
(Photo courtesy of Bradley Banks)

UTSA engineering students design, build steel bridge

By Christi Fish
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 11, 2009)--A group of UTSA undergraduate civil engineering students earned second place at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Texas/Mexico Student Steel Bridge Competition, as well as first-place awards in two of the competition's six individual scoring categories. Co-sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, the event was open to Texas- and Mexico-based members of ASCE student chapters. The 2008-2009 competition marks UTSA's 20th year of participation in the event.

Brad Banks, the team's student manager, says the team is "ecstatic" about its win and is looking forward to the final round of competition in Las Vegas. "Our team has worked very hard for this -- we've been working on the bridge since August," said Banks. "I'm hoping for a top-10 finish in Las Vegas, but no matter what, I'm excited that UTSA will be competing amongst the top engineering schools in the nation."

The national ASCE/AISC Steel Bridge Competition, an annual event attracting competitors from more than 100 colleges and universities across the country, tests each team's ability to design, build and test 1:10 scale bridges while emphasizing construction economy and maximizing bridge strength. Participants are the finalists from the regional competitions.

In both the regional and national ASCE/AISC steel bridge competitions, judges score teams on each bridge's construction speed, weight, deflection, economy, structural efficiency and overall presentation. Team member Trang Nguyen says the competition provides students with an opportunity to test their knowledge of structures, materials, and construction planning and management. Overall, she noted, "The competition is a good experience regardless of what field of engineering you plan to pursue, because it teaches you about working as a team to find solutions in engineering."

UTSA's 2008-2009 Steel Bridge Team includes 11 undergraduate students between the ages of 17 and 26 whose professional interests range from transportation to structural engineering.

>> For more information on the ASCE/AISC Steel Bridge competition or to learn how to join next year's team, contact A.T. Papagiannakis, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, at (210) 458-7071. To learn more about the undergraduate and graduate programs in engineering, visit the UTSA College of Engineering Web site.

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