SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

News Feed Item

Students Use Popsicle Sticks To Engineer The Future...and Avoid Another Jamzilla

More than 250 students from 31 Southern California high schools will battle to build the strongest bridge and tackle America's aging infrastructure

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Cheering over the collapse of a bridge doesn't happen every day.  But it will be a familiar sound at the 20th Annual Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition to be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). 

The public is invited to watch more than 250 students from 71 teams discover how much weight their model bridges, made of Popsicle sticks and white glue, can hold when tested in front of their peers, teachers and parents. Hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Younger Member Forum, the competition will draw 31 high schools from across Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties for a full-day celebration of math, science and engineering.

Ironically, as students work to create the infrastructure solutions of the future, L.A. commuters will face another major weekend lane closure during construction on the heavily-congested Interstate 405, nicknamed "Jamzilla" by local transportation officials.

"This competition teaches students much more than how to build cool bridges out of wood and glue," said Jonathan Levy, a member of CSUN's Civil Engineering and Construction Management Department's Advisory Board and founder of Beezley Management,  a construction management firm and event sponsor.  "Students learn about the daily challenges faced by civil engineers and other industry practitioners, and also about the importance of leadership, teamwork and creative problem-solving." 

Months in advance, student teams were challenged to design and build their Popsicle stick bridges following official rules.  During the competition, they will present a technical report, display board and oral presentation to a panel of engineers and other professionals serving as volunteer judges. 

The judges will then test the strength of each bridge on a loading machine to measure how much pressure it can sustain before collapsing.  Once a bridge fails, testing monitors will explain to the team why their bridge collapsed and how to make the design stronger in the future.

The winning teams will be selected based on strength, efficiency, aesthetics and overall presentation and will be awarded cash scholarships. Throughout the day, participating students will also have the chance to tour the campus and participate in a variety of impromptu events. 

Jennifer Heredia, who is co-chair of the event, an ASCE member and bridge engineer for HDR Inc., said that this will be the first visit to a college campus for many of the student participants.

"This bridge building competition is a great way to encourage students to pursue higher education and promote the civil engineering profession in our community," Heredia said. "Thanks to the support of our amazing volunteers and sponsors, we can help encourage and motivate our youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math."

The competition is free and open to the public. On-campus parking is available for $6 per day at parking structures B5, G3 and E6. The following is the event schedule:

8 to 9 a.m.

Students arrive



9 a.m.

Nazaret Dermendjian, chair of CSUN Department of Civil

Engineering and Construction Management, greets students at Plaza del Sol Quad



10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All-day bridge testing at Jacaranda Hall, campus tours and impromptu events



5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Awards ceremony with remarks by Jonathan Levy, founder of Beezley

Management, and announcement of winning teams

Event sponsors include ASCE Los Angeles Section, AECOM, Beezley Management, Rail Pros, J.F. Shea and ARUP.  The competition will also locally kick off national Engineers' Week, observed throughout the country on Feb. 16-22, 2014. For more information, visit http://bridge.mlab-ymf.org.

SOURCE American Society of Civil Engineers Younger Member Forum

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will w...
"ElasticBox is an enterprise company that makes it very easy for developers and IT ops to collaborate to develop, build and deploy applications on any cloud - private, public or hybrid," stated Monish Sharma, VP of Customer Success at ElasticBox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.