Teams from Norwin High School won first and third place, while a team from Greensburg Salem High School placed second, at the 13th Annual Engineering Bridge Competition on March 11, in the Fred M. Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College.
Co-sponsored by the Carbone Family of Crabtree, DeLallo Italian Marketplace, Michael Baker International, Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania – The International Bridge Conference, Gibson-Thomas Engineering, Pantalone Funeral Home, Kennametal, MSA and the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing at Saint Vincent College, the event drew several hundred attendees who watched as weights were added until the bridges, constructed from hot glue and uncooked pasta, collapsed.
The first-place bridge from Norwin was also the recipient of the Natalie Carbone Mangini Most Aesthetic Bridge Award. Known as the owner of Carbone’s Restaurant, Mangini was also the first woman to hold the title of scientist at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Division. She was present at the event and presented the aesthetic award to Norwin student Noah Bulloch at the start of the competition.
In the weight-bearing portion of the bridge competition, Norwin’s winning team of Bulloch, Jakob Bindas, Nic Aboud, Bekah Shuster and Tyler Naretto constructed a bridge that held 37.4 pounds before collapsing.
The second-place team from Greensburg Salem – Josh Klueber, Mike Leo and Cole McNair – built a bridge that held 28.6 pounds.
The members of the third-place team, also from Norwin, were Dan Smrekar, Chris Hinson, Charlie Blenko, Alex Gibala and Natalie Naponic, and their bridge held 26.1 pounds.
The Saint Vincent College Engineering Club, Mathematics Club and Physics Club assisted with the event, along with the Boyer School Dean’s Office and Saint Vincent’s engineering, math and computing and information systems faculty. Vince Mangini, son of Natalie, coordinated arrangements, along with Daniel Dunchack, president of the SVC Engineering Club and Benjamin Watt, president of the Mathematics Club. A total of 19 teams from high schools across Westmoreland and Armstrong counties participated in this year’s contest.
Judges for the competition were Binky Sargent from Kennametal, Matt Burns from Gibson-Thomas Engineering, William Gordon from Michael Baker International, and Dr. Stacy Birmingham and Dr. Derek Breid from the Saint Vincent engineering department.
The competition aims to increase high school students’ awareness about the role engineering plays in their lives and the career opportunities in the field, providing an opportunity for students to collaborate on the design and construction of their bridges in a fun, engaging way.