Winners Named for the 2024 AASHTO Bridge Challenge

Eighteen teams of middle and high school students from four states competed at the 2024 AASHTO Bridge Challenge event on April 24 in Madison, WI – a national contest held in conjunction with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials 2024 Spring Meeting. 

[Above photo by Wisconsin DOT

Sponsored by Bentley Systems, Michael Baker International, TopoDOT, HNTB, HDR, Housman and Associates, Professional Engineers in California Government or PECG, HeadLight, and Rawlins Infra Consult, the AASHTO Bridge Challenge is designed to promote an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM disciplines among middle and high school students.  

The competition consists of five phases: Design bridges via Model Smart and Bentley software; build a physical bridge model using glue and balsa wood from pre-packaged kits; develop a portfolio; conduct a presentation in front of a panel of judges; and destructive testing of the bridge models to calculate their ultimate strength-to-weight ratios. 

During the one-day final round, those 18 student teams made formal presentations to a panel of judges in the morning and then submitted their balsa wood bridge models for destructive testing in the afternoon.  

Judges awarded points to the teams for their presentations and the strength-to-weight ratio displayed by their bridge models, with the teams with the most cumulative points winning in their respective grade category.  

The first, second, and third place winners in each grade level category were: 

7th & 8th Grade Division 

  • 1st Place: Truss the Camels – Angela Ye, Sophia Wu, Ian Zhang – Hillside Middle School, Northville, MI.
  • 2ndPlace: Little Einsteins – Tanitoluwa Ojifinni, Aderemi Fatanmi, Sara Elzaree – Chesapeake Math and IT Academy-North Middle School, Laurel, MD. 
  • 3rd Place: Patriotic Bridgineers – Sophia Jiang, Grace Zhao, Eric Wu – Meads Middle School, Northville, MI.

9th & 10th Grade Division 

  • 1st Place: Make It or Break It – Jack Warrick, Kamryn Holley, Kezia Kyei-Boahen – Chesapeake Science School, Hanover, MD.
  • 2nd Place: Falcon Bridges – Josiah Essenberg, Emma Frye, Kammryn Manifold – Zeeland West and West Ottawa High Schools and a homeschooler, Dorr, MI.
  • 3rd Place: ProTRACtors – Jaren Settles, Robert McDonald, and Brian Ferree – Clinton High School, Clinton, MI. 

11th & 12th Grade Division 

  • 1st Place: Just Do Something – Joanna Lopez, Sophia Hendricks, Dwayne Jantuah – Chesapeake Science Point High School, Hanover, MD.
  • 2nd Place: Ultimate Construction – Nathaniel Jeffords, Lucy Skampoo, Marisela Fermin-Jacobo – LISD TECH Center, Adrian, MI.
  • 3rd Place: Mission ImBALSAble – Mattis Riddle, Katelyn Baker, Kamryn Van Sickle – Clinton High School, Clinton, MI. 

This national contest is part of the “AASHTO STEM Outreach Solutions” program, previously known as the “Transportation and Civil Engineering” or TRAC program for 7th through 12th grade students.

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