img-steel bridge-photos2In 2013, MSOE’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers took second place overall in the ASCE Great Lakes Regional Conference. As a group, the students took first place with their technical paper and first place in the geotechnical competition.

The Concrete Canoe Team finished in third place. The Steel Bridge Team took second place, which qualified them for the ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition for the third year in a row. They traveled to the University of Washington where they competed against teams from across the United States. They won the First Place Award for Display and the Third Place Award for Construction Speed. Dr. Frank Mahuta is the ASCE faculty advisor.

“My favorite part of the competition was attending the National Display competition and being able to view the 48 other bridges,” said Matt Schultz, Steel Bridge team captain. “It is amazing to be able to walk around from bridge to bridge and see all the crazy ideas that other people had. It is great to be able to say to yourself, ‘why didn’t I think of that!’, and then be able to congratulate that team for their good ideas.”

“Participatinimg-steel bridge-photos1g in an organization like ASCE, where you can compete on the Steel Bridge team or Concrete Canoe team, allows you to use the skills you have learned in the classroom, but the challenge the competition presents is something you don’t learn in the classroom. You have to think outside the box. You have to think like a real engineer. And that is experience that is valuable going into the industry,” said Schultz. “You have to know there is no textbook answer and that you are looking for the best solution, which is very open ended. And this competition is a great way to illustrate that. There are 213 different teams with 213 different designs. None of them are exactly the same. Yes, some of the are great and some of them are not so great. But it proves that there is not just one solution in the real world and that is the greatest part to designing these bridges, having YOUR own solution and hoping its one of the best.”

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