CHARLESTON, WV – Students in West Virginia middle schools and high schools have until March 1 to enter the 2023 WV Bridge Design and Build Contest, hosted by West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) for more than 20 years, registration is entirely free and available on the website wvbridgedesignandbuildcontest.com.
“We have schools that have come back to the competition for 20 years and counting,” said Jennifer Dooley, of WVDOT’s Public Relations Division. “With WVDOT, we have scholarships, Co-Op programs, tuition reimbursement, and training opportunities; backing up our dedication to being the best educated WVDOT in the country. The competition helps us reach students with the message that there are great careers available in their home state.”
The competition focuses on engineering, using real world design principles in the software with which students design their bridges, however Dooley stresses that the competition is not just for students who already feel they would be good at engineering.
“All students are encouraged to give it a try,” said Dooley. “This contest can reach any school, any student, and it’s a level playing field. It’s exciting to see a seventh grader give it a try and find out they can do it. Students need to know that it’s okay to be a beginner and start where they are. This contest teaches them about engineering without expecting them to already know.”
Secretary of Transportation Jimmy Wriston, P.E. served as a classroom volunteer in the early years of the competition and developed a process for coaching West Virginia’s students that blends hard work with creativity. In 2016, Wriston created a tutorial for students outlining a step by step process for using the software. That tutorial, which starts at the beginning and moves logically through steps, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E84yQRxzee4&t=202s