Local students test their engineering skills at USF-Selmon Bridge Building Competition

Bay Area middle and high school students put their engineering skills to the test in February during the annual USF-Selmon Bridge Competition.

The competition is held each year during USF‘s annual Engineering Expo. It dates back to the 1980s when USF students originally launched the competition as an outreach effort to connect with unrepresented middle and high school students. The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority has sponsored the event since 2010. It’s part of THEA’s Selmon STEM Scholarship (S3) Program, which is designed to strengthen student skills in STEM subjects and honor the late Tampa Bay Bucs Hall of Famer and USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon, the namesake of THEA’s Selmon Expressway. 

"THEA's S3 Program is part of our commitment to the future of this region,” THEA Executive Director and CEO Greg Slater says in a press release. “By engaging students to think as engineers and work together as a team, their ingenuity, and creativity are sparked to craft the sturdiest design. We are proud to sponsor this incredible event for our regional students.”
This year’s competition draws nearly 30 teams from Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Each team designs a bridge made out of balsa wood to see which can withstand the most weight and pressure before collapsing. Top teams receive awards from THEA and invitations to the 2024 Florida Automated Vehicle Summit, where they will get a guided tour and a sneak peek into the future of transportation.

The high school team winners of the 2024 USF-Selmon Bridge Competition are Newsome High School Banana Engineers of America in first place; Newsome High Bridgecatnappers in second place; and Gaither High ACT Engineering in third place.

Middle school winners are Cambridge Christian Cambridge Nation in first place; Cambridge Christian Team Bohr in second place; and Terrace Community Middle School in third place. 

For more information, go to Bridge Building Competition.
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