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KU Engineering High School Design 2018

By: Dr. Rose Davidson, STEM Coordinator
On October 23-24, 2018, the St. Joe “Engineering and Design Applications” students traveled to University of Kansas to participate in the School of Engineering’s High School Design Competition. The team of Gracie Fiala, Katie Horan, Abby Kahrhoff and Margaret Maloney, all members of the Class of 2019, won the first place award in the Civil Engineering competition and were awarded $2000 in KU scholarships. They were the only all-female team in the Civil Engineering challenge. Mr. Bud Stein was the team’s coach and mentor for the event.
The KU High School Design Competition is a challenging, high-impact engineering contest, sponsored by the region's leading research program and a host of engineering industry partners. Students put their math and engineering skills to use in competing against other students from across the region in six challenging competitions centered on “Wonders of the World.”
Students were allowed to compete in one of the six disciplines; Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Aerospace Engineering, Civil Engineering or Chemical Engineering. Our students entered the Civil Engineering Competition. This was the real world scenario for their task:
Lawrence, Kansas needs a new bridge, and it’s up to your engineering firm to design it! The city leaders who hired you for the project want you to look at other bridges around the world for inspiration: Christopher S. Bond Bridge (KCMO), Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA), Sydney Harbor Bridge (Australia), Armando Emilio Guebuza Bridge (Mozambique), or London Bridge (UK). Once the team has examined the four World’s Wonders bridges you are to design a bridge to carry the maximum load for the least amount of money and share it with the city leaders.
The team was evaluated on three factors.
  • 25% of their score came from their presentation to judges regarding the world’s wonders bridges and the features of the bridge which they designed. Their presentation included their AutoCAD drawings, their planning process, and the features of their design which made it able to carry the load in the most cost effective manner.
  • 25% of their score was based on their top, side, and 3D AutoCAD drawings of their bridge showing the construction details.
  • The final 50% of their score was based on the load and cost-to-load Ratio. These were determined by the number of specific allowed k’Nex pieces used and the amount of weight that the bridge held until it broke.
The St. Joe bridge held so much load that they had to find a bigger bucket. Their bridge held 33.5 pounds. The next highest held was 27 pounds.
St. Joseph’s Academy is a private, Catholic high school for girls in St. Louis, Missouri, sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Our mission is to provide quality Catholic education for young women in an environment that challenges them to grow in faith, knowledge, and respect for self and others. Our community expects these young women to make a profound impact in the world.

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