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Student Bridges Garner Awards in AISC Competition

June 09, 2003 From American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.

Teams of civil engineering students from 44 universities designed, fabricated and erected steel bridges across an imaginary river in the American Institute of Steel Construction’s 12th Annual National Student Steel Bridge Competition.
Hosted by San Diego State University from May 23-24, 2003, the top 3 national winners represented: 1) University of Michigan; 2) University of Wisconsin-Madison; and 3) University of Florida.
The student design teams fabricated, erected and test loaded to 2,500 pounds at a 1:10 scale a model of a replacement bridge across a river valley in a mountainous rural region. Participating students practiced basic steel fabrication, project scheduling and management, and gained hands-on appreciation for the strength and versatility of structural steel. The competition rules gave site conditions, member size, weight limitations and design loads and prizes were awarded in seven areas: construction speed, lightness, aesthetics, stiffness, economy, efficiency and overall performance.

The top three schools in each category are:

Overall Performance:

  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • University of Florida

Speed of Construction:

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Clemson University
  • University of Florida


  • Penn State University
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Lakehead University


  • Columbia University
  • University of Illinois-Urbana
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison


  • Penn State
  • SUNY-Canton
  • Southern Polytechnic University


  • University of Michigan
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Clemson University


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Lawrence Tech
  • Penn State

"This is the premier student engineering exercise," says Michael Orlandella a professor at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia, "The biggest thing is the students learn about the management of a steel project – how to put it all together. They need to design the steel bridge, fabricate it and erect it. It is a real exercise for the future engineers of tomorrow."
There are two levels of competition: regional and national. Regional Student Steel Bridge Competitions are held in conjunction with 20 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) regional conferences. Qualifying teams from the 20 regionals are invited to compete in the prestigious National Student Steel Bridge Competition.
The National Student Steel Bridge Competition is sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc. and co-sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, The American Iron and Steel Institute, The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, the National Steel Bridge Alliance, Nucor Corporation and TXI Chaparral Steel.

2003 National Student Steel Bridge Competition Participating Universities

    • Arkansas State University
    • Bluefield State College
    • California State University-Chico
    • California State University-Long Beach
    • California State University-Northridge
    • California State University-Sacramento
    • Clemson University
    • Cleveland State University
    • Colorado State University
    • Columbia University
    • George Washington University
    • Iowa State University
    • Lakehead University
    • Lawrence Technological Institute
    • Louisiana State University
    • New Jersey Institute of Technology
    • North Dakota State University
    • Penn State University
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    • Rochester Institute of Technology
    • San Diego State University
    • Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
    • Southern Polytechnic State University
    • SUNY-Canton
    • Texas A&M University
    • Tufts University
    • University of Alaska-Anchorage
    • University of Alaska-Fairbanks
    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Central Florida
    • University of Connecticut
    • University of Delaware
    • University of Florida
    • University of Illinois-Urbana
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Missouri-Rolla
    • University of North Carolina-Charlotte
    • University of Southern California
    • University of Texas-Arlington
    • University of Vermont
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Utah State University
    • Virginia Tech
    • Youngstown State University

For more information contact:

Scott Melnick
VP of Communications
(312) 670-8314
[email protected]


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

130 East Randolph St. Suite 2000
Chicago IL 60601
Phone: 312.670.2400
Fax: 312.626.2402