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Civil Engineering students win top prizes at Steel Bridge Competition

The Lakehead University Steel Bridge Team has achieved top prizes at the annual ASCE Western Great Lakes Student Symposium in Chicago co-hosted by Northwestern University, Illinois Tech, and the University of Illinois from April 4-6.

Picture of members of the LU Steel Bridge Team
(from left) Wadika Faisal, Nadine Elmehriki, Ibrahim Shaheed, Mohamed Abi, Lovely Faith Donaldson, Karl Prentice, Zachary Morgan, Cory Hubbard, Kailash Bhatia, and Dr. Yanglin Gong.

The Lakehead team won three awards including first place in lightness, second place in aesthetics, and third place in construction economy, and were ranked fourth place overall among the 16 universities competing.

The team was made up of six senior year civil engineering students, captain Zachary Morgan, co-captain Karl Prentice, Lovely Faith Donaldson, Ibrahim Shaheed, Mohamed Abi, and Wadika Faisal. 

In this year’s competition organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), students were challenged to design and fabricate a 1:10 scale model steel bridge, which spans 21 feet over an extra wide eight feet river, subject to height restrictions to minimize interference with its surrounding. The bridge was then tested under 2,500 pounds of weight to confirm its stability, strength and stiffness. 

“Ever since I started at Lakehead, my goal was to be on the steel bridge team,” said captain Zachary Morgan, “I have had an amazing experience, learning skills that will impact my life and my future career”. 

The competition experience included conceptual design and details design, fabrication, erection, and testing.

“Every challenge we faced was not just an obstacle, but a valuable opportunity for growth and learning, guiding us to redefine success through perseverance and ingenuity. As a team, we embraced the unpredictable knowing that tenacity fuels innovation and resilience,” said co-captain Karl Prentice.

“The competition weekend was a fantastic experience, especially seeing the diverse designs and innovations from many different universities”, added Donaldson.

In addition, third-year Civil Engineering student Nadine Elmehriki participated in a paper competition, representing the Lakehead ASCE student chapter. 

The Lakehead delegation was led by faculty advisor Dr. Yanglin Gong and supported by technologists Cory Hubbard and Kailash Bhatia. Construction company Facca Inc. and the Iron Workers Local 759 in Thunder Bay were the major sponsors for the team.

“The bridge competition challenges our students to extend their classroom knowledge to a practical, hands-on design and construction project that grows their professional and interpersonal skills,” said Dr. Gong.

Dr. Jian Deng, Chair of Civil Engineering in Lakehead’s Faculty of Engineering added,

“The Department of Civil Engineering is incredibly proud of our students. Their performance was exceptional and they once again demonstrated that Lakehead can compete and win against tough competition from top U.S. universities in the region.”


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