Clark State Community College will host the Engineering Innovation Bridge Competition at 10:15 a.m., Friday, July 21 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.
There are 19 students from five participating counties in this year’s Johns Hopkins University Engineering Innovation program at Clark State. The students attend high schools in Clark, Champaign, Logan, Greene and Montgomery counties.
“This program is a game changer for students in STEM fields,” said Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, president of Clark State. “Not only do students perform at a high level, but they have the ability to receive college credit for a freshman engineering course at one of the premier engineering programs in the country: Johns Hopkins University.”
The four-week program concludes with the spaghetti bridge competition. “During the Engineering Innovation program, students are immersed in chemical, electrical, material and mechanical engineering labs,” said Kanesha Hall, STEM programming manager at Clark State. “The bridge competition is the culmination of a several-week-long project.”
Hall said the goal of the bridge competition is for students to combine knowledge of materials, chemical and civil engineering into one project successfully. “Graduates of the program have continued in high school loaded with STEM classes; others have attended Clark State, Wright State and Marietta College to pursue STEM fields. The bridge competition is just one example of ways Engineering Innovation students are prepared for STEM higher education.”
Students began testing the materials for their bridges during the first week of the program. Throughout the four weeks, they work in small teams to build a bridge that is free-standing, weighs a maximum of 250 grams and a max height of 25 centimeters.
Students are graded on the success of their bridges. “The winning group does not receive a prize but will have bragging rights among the top bridges tested throughout the country,” said Hall. “Johns Hopkins University's Engineering Innovation program is held at over a dozen sites in the U.S.”
The Engineering Innovation bridge competition is open to the public. Hall encourages anyone interested in architecture, mathematics, technology and engineering to attend the event. “We have a very special keynote speaker this year that completed the Engineering Innovation program in 2015.”
“The students are actually in the lab this week beginning to finalize bridge designs and calculations. Some groups will begin building this week,” she said.
The bridges are constructed from epoxy glue and different widths of cylindrical spaghetti. Students must apply calculus, materials testing and new knowledge of civil and chemical engineering design processes to create their bridges. The bridges must also be able to withstand the weight of a loading platform.
“If you are a student in middle school or high school interested in engineering, you should definitely attend this free event,” said Hall. “This is a great way to be inspired by local youth who have tackled fun challenges in engineering innovation.”