Steel bridge building team qualifies for nationals

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2011 Steel Bridge Team from Geneva College

Geneva College civil engineering students placed third in the Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) at the Ohio Valley Student Conference (OVSC) held this month at the University of Akron. The five members of the team - Matt Curry, Seth Montgomery, Leyenda Sleight, Brandon Sopko and Grant Werner - have qualified to attend the National Student Steel Bridge Competition at Texas A&M University on May 20-21, 2011.

"I told the team before the competition that I was proud of them and very pleased with their work regardless of the outcome," said engineering professor and team advisor Robe Liljestrand. "But, of course, now I am doubly proud of them. "

The 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.

Professor Liljestrand explained, "This year′s bridge geometry and deflection limits presented a greater challenge than expected. I am very proud of this year′s team in that they did the hard work of testing their bridge and making the necessary improvements."

Criteria for excellence are represented by the award categories of stiffness, lightness, construction speed, display, efficiency and economy. Construction errors that represent accidents in full-scale construction are penalized and bridges that cannot be tested safely are withdrawn from competition. The winners of the regional competition were: first place, University of Akron; second place, Youngstown State University; and third place, Geneva College.

Schools competing at the OVSC included the University of Akron, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cleveland State University, the University of Dayton, Geneva College, the University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, Ohio University, the University of Pittsburgh, Stark State College of Technology, Western Kentucky University and Youngstown State University.

Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).