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Clark State JHU Engineering students building bridges of success


SPRINGFIELD — Clark State Community College will host the Engineering Innovation Bridge Competition at 10:15 a.m. Friday, July 20 at the John Legend Theater.

The Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation program has been offered at Clark State for four years thanks to philanthropist Rosalyn Bullock in honor of her late husband Willis Bullock.

There are 23 students from seven participating counties in this year’s program. The students attend high schools in Clark, Champaign, Greene, Logan, Warren, Madison and Montgomery counties. There is also a student from a high school in Kern County, California.

The five-week program concludes with the spaghetti bridge competition. “We invite Engineering Innovation alumni to speak at this event to share how it has affected their academic trajectory,” said Kanesha Scott, STEM programming manager at Clark State.

Scott said the goal of the bridge competition is for students to combine knowledge of materials with 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 University, Ohio Northern, University of Cincinnati, Marietta College and even Johns Hopkins University to pursue STEM fields,” said Scott. “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 five weeks, they worked in small teams to build a bridge that is free-standing, weighs a maximum of 250 grams with a max height of 25 centimeters.

Students are graded on the success of their bridges. “The winning group will have bragging rights among the top Engineering Innovation bridges tested throughout the country,” said Scott. “Johns Hopkins University’s Engineering Innovation program is held at over a dozen sites in the U.S.”

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.

The keynote speaker at this year’s competition will be Alexandra Fellie of Xenia High School. She completed Engineering Innovation at Clark State in 2017.

Tickets to the event are free of charge, but seating is limited. Tickets can be reserved online at www.johnshopkinsbridgeday.eventbrite.com.

“If you are a student in middle school or high school interested in engineering, you should definitely attend this free event to learn about Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation,” said Scott. “This is a great way to be inspired by local youth who have tackled fun challenges in engineering innovation.”