UAF Engineering Team Takes First Place in Regional Steel Bridge Competition

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Students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Engineering and Mines won first place in all categories for their steel bridge entry in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Northwest Conference.

Every year, the ASCE issues a new set of rules designed to challenge young engineering students. Students must apply concepts learned in the classroom and develop a competitive and innovative scale-model steel bridge that is within the guidelines set.

At the competition, the bridge is then scored on many different factors, such as construction speed, weight and rigidity, and even the number of team members building the bridge. The UAF team led the way in all areas from overall performance to structural efficiency and even aesthetics.

“The bridge weighed less than 120 pounds and was assembled at the competition with only three team members in less than 17 minutes,” noted team captain Daniel Hjortstorp. “We scored 40% better than even second place”.

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The ASCE regional conference was held at Idaho State University, where 13 different universities from the Pacific Northwest convened. The conference involves many diverse challenges for the schools, including a concrete canoe competition.  This was UAF’s second year competing in the concrete canoe challenge and they earned 4th place.

“Our success is built on camaraderie and team-spirit…build a team and the project will build itself,” says Hjortstorp. “Our countless hours spent designing and constructing taught us a lot about what a team with a common goal can accomplish.”

Not only did the team excel in the steel bridge categories, they also outperformed all other competitors in the conference food drive by collecting an impressive 1167 pounds of canned goods. The team had also made it a priority to participate in other community service projects throughout the year.

The UAF Steel Bridge team will go on to compete in the national competition on May 22-23 at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. Please consider supporting the Steel Bridge Team by making a donation to the ASCE Steel Bridge Competition Support Fund.

In addition to Hjortstorp, student members of the Steel Bridge Team are:

  • Will Riley, a senior in mechanical engineering
  • Elliot Anderson, a junior in civil engineering
  • Nathan Goering, a senior in civil engineering
  • Nathaniel Barnett, a freshman in mechanical engineering
  • Chase Delatush, a junior in mechanical engineering
  • Catherine Estus, a sophomore in civil engineering
  • Zack Sherman, a junior in construction management
  • Scott Taylor, a freshman in civil engineering
  • Alexa Hinzman, a senior in civil engineering
  • Fei Li, a graduate student in civil engineering
  • Doug Keller, a sophomore in mechanical engineering
  • Krish Balasubramanian, a graduate student in civil engineering
  • Daniel Bozone, a sophomore in civil engineering
  • Ryan Burnham, a sophomore in civil engineering

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All photos by JR Ancheta/UAF.