UMass Engineering Students Place in Virtual Bridge Design Event

Bridge designed by UMass Amherst students.
Bridge designed by UMass Amherst students.

A team of six UMass Amherst students advised by Kara Peterman, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, recently placed in the top nine teams in the annual American Institute of Steel Construction’s (AISC) Student Steel Bridge Competition. As they won their regional competition, the team will now move on to the national finals.

There were two ways teams could compete safely in this year’s event – the first was through a remote Compete from Campus program in which teams designed, fabricated, constructed and tested their bridges from their campus instead of at a regional event. The UMass team competed in the Supplemental Competition, in which teams who could not build their bridges due to pandemic restrictions were assessed on the design, analysis, and construction sequencing. The UMass team finished in the top nine in the Supplemental Competition, which attracted 38 teams from around the U.S. Eighty teams participated in the Compete from Campus program.

The UMass team consists of Kevin Brooks and Aidan Provost, both seniors; Kitty Lovell and Faye Kuszewski, both sophomores; and graduate students Michael Kamlarz and Daniel Ankiewicz. Peterman said a special challenge to this year’s competition was that the students could not gather in person to work on their design and had to collaborate remotely. Additionally, some of the team members had yet to take any steel design courses, and were learning material for the first time.

Teams will compete remotely in the national finals as well. Teams competing in the Supplemental Design-Only competition will move forward with their existing entries. Judges will factor in results from a public vote on their submission videos, which take place next month. AISC will present national awards on June 3.