STEM; Engineering Week

Corps celebrates EWeek with “Building Bridges Towards our Future” competition at local Walla Walla and College Place schools. Story and Photos by Brigida Sanchez  The Walla Walla District sponsored engineering design competitions at DeSales High School, College Place High School, […]

Corps celebrates EWeek with “Building Bridges Towards our Future” competition at local Walla Walla and College Place schools.

Story and Photos by Brigida Sanchez 

Capt. Bent Vance, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, STEM Coordinator weighs Corps family member’s toothpick and Popsicle stick bridges in the atrium during the Engineer Week Competition.

DeSales High School Students watch as Lt. Col. Damon Delarosa, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, and Corps Engineer Hillary Smith, test their toothpick and popsicle stick bridges. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District sponsored engineering and design competition at DeSales High School, Walla Walla, Washington.

The Walla Walla District sponsored engineering design competitions at DeSales High School, College Place High School, Pioneer Middle School and Walla Walla Academy to celebrate National Engineers Week (EWeek) February 22-24. The engineering design competitions were part of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) conferences. This year, Corps engineers and support staff served as judges and speakers at the STEM competitions.

“We’re concerned that more kids aren’t getting involved with STEM and this is a chance for us to work with them and show how much fun solving problems using STEM skills can be.” Capt. Brent Vance, U.S. Army Corps, STEM coordinator says, “We really need to have enough people involved in these fields in the future, and EWeek is a good way for us to get out and interact with the next generation.”

The Walla Walla District helped schools test bridges that students will built using a variety of materials. Rules for the competition include constructing bridges out of toothpicks, popsicle sticks, dental floss and water-soluble glue. Each bridge was judged on its efficiency rather than its overall strength-to-weight ratio.

Capt. Bent Vance, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, STEM Coordinator weighs Corps family member’s toothpick and Popsicle stick bridges in the atrium during the Engineer Week Competition.

DeSales High School Students watch as Corps Engineer Amanda Connell, test their toothpick and popsicle stick bridges. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District sponsored engineering and design competition at DeSales High School, Walla Walla, Washington.

Capt. Vance said, “Working with glue and popsicle sticks, the challenge will be in the preparation. With science, you want to research and experiment, and as long as they stick with that model, I think they’ll work through all the setbacks before the competition.”

The competition and STEM Conferences encourage students to problem-solve, use ingenuity, be creative and rely on each other as a team to build their bridges objectively and conceptually.

“I think young people bring a fresh perspective to solving problems like this. I have no idea what kind of solutions we’ll see, but that’s what’s neat about it” said Vance “there’s no wrong answer; it’s just whatever they find that works.”

Corps Engineer Simeon Francis, ensures bridges as DeSales High School meet competition standards for the “Building Bridges Towards our Future,” Engineer Week Competition. Local students worked diligently for two weeks planning, building, testing, and modifying their structures. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District sponsored engineering and design competition at DeSales High School, Walla Walla, Washington.

Corps Engineer Simeon Francis, ensures bridges as DeSales High School meet competition standards for the “Building Bridges Towards our Future,” Engineer Week Competition. Local students worked diligently for two weeks planning, building, testing, and modifying their structures. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District sponsored engineering and design competition at DeSales High School, Walla Walla, Washington.

Corps of Engineers employees Hillary Smith and Julio Morelos  calibrate the testing device for the “Building Bridges Towards our Future” Engineer Week Competition. Local students worked diligently for two weeks planning, building, testing and modifying their structures. The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers  sponsored the “Building Bridges Towards our Future” engineering and design competition, and Corps employees volunteered at DeSales High School, Walla Walla, Washington. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo.

Corps of Engineers employees Hillary Smith and Julio Morelos calibrate the testing device for the “Building Bridges Towards our Future” Engineer Week Competition. Local students worked diligently for two weeks planning, building, testing and modifying their structures. The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sponsored the “Building Bridges Towards our Future” engineering and design competition, and Corps employees volunteered at DeSales High School, Walla Walla, Washington. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo.

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