Posted: Wednesday Jan 30, 2013
January 30, 2013
An engineering competition for area high school students, co-sponsored by Carbone’s Restaurant of Crabtree and the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing at Saint Vincent College, will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 4 in the Fred M. Rogers Center.
The public is welcome to watch as miniature bridges made out of uncooked pasta are loaded with increasing weights until they collapse.
Forty teams from nine Westmoreland County high schools will participate in this year’s contest including Derry Area, Greensburg Central Catholic, Greensburg Salem, Hempfield Area, Jeannette, Greater Latrobe, Norwin, Penn Trafford and Yough.
“We are happy to welcome the seventh annual pasta bridge building competition to the Rogers Center where this interesting engineering contest will display the students’ work before the testing begins,” commented Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs, academic dean and assistant professor of physics at Saint Vincent College. “Saint Vincent provides opportunities for students to pursue engineering studies through a 3/2 cooperative program with Penn State, University of Pittsburgh and Catholic University. We also offer undergraduate degrees in the natural sciences, physics and physics education.”
Participants are provided with two pounds of spaghetti noodles, ten pieces of lasagna noodles and a hot glue gun which they use to build model bridges they designed in their respective school classrooms over a two-month period. Students will carefully transport their constructions to Saint Vincent for display in the Atrium for one hour prior to the competition.
During the competition, weights are added to the bridges until they fail to support. The bridge that sustains the highest amount of weight before collapsing is the winner.
Judges for the competition will be Mr. Matt Burns of Gibson-Thomas Engineering, Laura Volle of Michael Baker Corporation, and Dr. Stephen Jodis and Dr. Paul Follansbee of Saint Vincent College.
The competition is designed to increase high school students’ awareness about the role engineering plays in their lives and the career opportunities in the field and to provide an opportunity for students to collaborate on the design and construction.