Engineering students win awards in Ohio Valley Competition

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2009 Geneva College Steel Bridge Team

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. - In the face of steep competition, Geneva College civil engineering students won awards in two competitions at the Ohio Valley Student Conference (OVSC) held at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky April 2-4.

In addition to Geneva College, the schools competing at the OVSC included:

  • University of Akron
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
  • Cleveland State University
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Kentucky
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio University
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Stark State College of Technology
  • Western Kentucky University
  • Youngstown State University

Five students - Nick Carson, Melissa Gulstrom, Amanda Havener, David Jackson and Andy Lubich - placed third in the Student Steel Bridge Competition. By placing third, these students will be invited to attend the National Student Steel Bridge Competition that will take place at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on May 22-23, 2009. There, they will compete with students from other leading engineering schools in the nation.

The Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). The SSBC provides civil engineering students an inter-collegiate competition that includes design, fabrication and construction of a scaled steel bridge. Participating students gain practical experience in structural design, fabrication processes, construction planning, organization and teamwork.

Criteria for excellence are represented by the award categories of stiffness, lightness, construction speed, display, efficiency and economy. The safety of competitors, judges, volunteers and spectators is paramount. Risky procedures are prohibited, and bridges that cannot be constructed and tested safely are withdrawn from competition. In addition, the rules identify and penalize construction errors that represent accidents in full-scale construction.

The rules of the competition accommodate a variety of designs and allow for innovation. Designers must consider carefully the comparative advantages of various alternatives. Successful teams analyze and compare alternative designs prior to fabrication. The winners of the competition were: first place, University of Akron; second place, Youngstown State University; and third place, Geneva College.

Civil engineering student Brandon Sopko also placed third in the Technical Paper Competition. The Technical Paper Competition involved a written paper on the topic "Sustainability in Civil Engineering" not to exceed 2,000 words, a five-minute oral presentation on the paper and up to five minutes of questioning by the competition judges. The winners of the competition were: first place, Western Kentucky University; second place, University of Dayton; and third place, Geneva College.

Geneva College, a reformed Christian liberal arts school founded in 1848, prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).