Steel Driving Women

SUN_6066Spring Break means little to the women of S&T’s Steel Bridge Design Team. They’d sooner be cutting and forming I-beams.

April Fool’s day is ignored because there’s serious work at hand. Sarah Jemison, Miranda (Randi) Cory, and the men who work for them must design, build and test a new weight-bearing bridge in less than a month.

Need more pressure? Randi is helping organize the ASCE Midcontinent Student Conference hosted by Missouri S&T. Better known as the Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe competition, it’s coming to Rolla April 21st-23rd for the first time in nearly twenty years. The Miner bridge and canoe crews have risen to the challenge of juggling jobs, classes, building their projects and managing the entire event. They’re determined to set a hospitality standard that will never be eclipsed, even by those “big” schools.DSC_6578 (1)
Back to emergency bridge design, S&T’s initial structure failed load testing during St Pat’s week, mimicking one school’s designs famous for collapsing under the weight of their own self-importance (according to a K-State wag). For the host school to withdraw from the event would be, uh, embarrassing in the extreme. Miners would never let that happen. DSC_6568They’re taking inspiration from Jermy Jamison’s 2014 winning team by switching to a modified I-beam design. That meant finding the steel FAST, while hammering out design details in late-night meetings and cutting steel with the Design Center’s new five-axis water jet machine.
DSC_5255Both civil engineering-based teams have strong contingents of women. Miranda is the president of the Steel Bridge Team. Concrete Canoe is led by a guy (Justin Turley) but with 53% of the team women, he’s outnumbered. Who, by the way, dominated last year womens’ sprint race.