College of Engineering & Mines

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Steel Bridge Team returns to UND victorious — and eager for Nationals

Placing in the top 3 in all categories, UND team secures a coveted ticket to the national stage

Students stand proudly next to model bridge construction
In Chicago, UND’s Steel Bridge Team took home 3rd overall at the regional competition, paving their way to the national finals in May. Photo courtesy of Daba Gedafa.

Competing against formidable opponents from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ontario, the UND Steel Bridge Competition Team proved their prowess at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Western Great Lakes Regional Competition, securing their ticket to the coveted National Finals.

And their report card was indeed something to write home about. Categories to place in at Steel Bridge Competition include cost estimation, stiffness, structural efficiency, and aesthetics. The UND team took home first, second, second, and third in each category, respectively.

And as a bonus, this year, the team took first in a secret fifth category: concrete cornhole.

UND students in hockey jerseys sit proudly next to a customized UND concrete cornhole slab
Taking home the top 3 in all categories wasn’t enough for the UND team; they also cinched first in ‘concrete cornhole.’ Photo courtesy of Daba Gedafa.

With an impressive overall performance, the UND Steel Bridge Team clinched the third position overall, reflecting their comprehensive excellence across diverse criteria.

“It is good to come back to our more spring-like weather in Grand Forks,” said Dr. Sattar Dorafshan, the team’s advisor, upon their return to campus. “The students did a fantastic job representing our department, college, and our university and deserve pretty much all the recognition and credit. Thank you very much for the encouraging and kind words.”

Despite their well-earned celebratory welcome back to campus, the team has their eyes on the challenge ahead: National Finals. Scheduled to take place at Louisiana Tech University from May 31 to June 1, 2024, the prestigious event brings together students from across North America, offering participants the opportunity to vie for the esteemed title of national champion.

A display of comprehensive excellence, the team’s victory demonstrates the excellence of the Department of Civil Engineering at UND. Photo courtesy of Daba Gedafa.

The Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) serves as a platform for students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world challenges, fostering innovation and honing professional skills. Tasked with designing and constructing a scale-model steel bridge capable of spanning approximately 20 feet and carrying 2,500 pounds while adhering to stringent competition regulations, the event tests teams’ technical and aesthetic proficiency, with bridges undergoing meticulous evaluation.

The competition has evolved into a beloved engineering contest across the country, attracting approximately two hundred schools annually, UND included.

As the University of North Dakota Steel Bridge Team gears up for the National Finals, they carry with them the pride of their institution and the anticipation of the national stage.

Six award plaques
Photo courtesy of Daba Gedafa.

Written by Paige Prekker  //  UND College of Engineering & Mines