Student Organization Spotlight: Steel Bridge Team


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The University of Akron (UA) is home to almost 300 student organizations, covering a wide range of interests and majors. Each of these groups has its unique mission and focus, offering students a wealth of opportunities to get involved on campus. To make it easier for students to find the perfect organization and explore their options, UA offers RooConnect, an online portal that lists student groups and upcoming activities.  

To help students in their search for the perfect organization, UCM will be highlighting student-led organizations, with Q&As featuring club presidents or advisors.  

Student Group: Steel Bridge Team  
President: Rhett Brodie, a fifth-year Civil Engineering Student earning a minor in applied mathematics and a certificate in surveying. 
Q: What is the mission of the organization?  
A: The Steel Bridge Team aims to design and fabricate a 1:20 scale steel bridge to feature at its yearly competition.  
Q: What events, gatherings and activities does the organization host?  
A: The Steel Bridge Team hosts group design sessions every week and individual welding sessions throughout the week. During the spring semester, there are work nights where the bridge is fabricated. Once the bridge is complete, construction practices are on hold until the competition. Alongside those activities, the Steel Bridge Team collaborates with the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Concrete Canoe Team for volunteer opportunities and social events such as game and study nights.  
Q: Why should a student join Steel Bridge Team?  
A: The Steel Bridge Team is a great way to learn new skills and meet new people. You do not need to be a Civil Engineer to join the team and it is not necessary for members to know how to use design software and/or how to weld. Furthermore, many people are needed to make this team successful, from designing the bridge to cutting and sandblasting pieces of steel, to welding and then to constructing it at competition. It is most definitely a team effort. And as competition gets closer, we all have a blast preparing for it.  
Q: How does Steel Bridge Team prepare students for their future careers?  
A: The Steel Bridge Team prepares students for their future careers by encouraging students to learn how to work with others. Everyone plays a role on the team, from the design of the bridges, to fabrication and construction and administrative work. There are many moving parts and everyone must work together to be successful. The team is also great to put on your resume, knowing how to weld and use design software stands out. It becomes especially helpful when it comes time to search for a job. Many alumni in the area were once a part of the team and they look for these skills on student resumes. 
Q: Does Steal Bridge Team compete in any competitions, if so, please explain the competition.  
A: The Steel Bridge Team competes in at least one competition every spring - the regional competition - which involves universities from Ohio and Michigan. These schools bring their bridges to the competition, and they are judged on the following criteria: aesthetics, construction time, lateral deflection and vertical deflection. If the team performs well enough at the regional competition, it moves on to the national competition. The competitions are hosted by different universities every year, and UA happens to be hosting this year’s regional competition at the John S. Knight Center on April 6. It will be a great time to get involved with the Steel Bridge Team!   
Q: What significant achievements, awards or honors has Steel Bridge Team received? 
A: Over the years, the Steel Bridge Teams have placed high in the regional competitions and have even been competitive at the national competition. In 2023, the regional competition was held in Detroit and the team won the Spirit of the Competition Award. After a two-year hiatus, the Steel Bridge Team is getting back on its feet and is hoping to be competitive once again.  
Q: What is one goal Steel Bridge Team hopes to achieve in the future? 
A: One goal the Steel Bridge Team hopes to achieve in the future is to design and fabricate a bridge that is competitive enough to get UA back to the national competition.  
Q: Where does Steel Bridge Team meet, and what time?  
A: The Steel Bridge Team hosts design sessions every Monday at 6 p.m. in the Civil Engineering Lounge, in Auburn Science and Engineering Center (ASEC) room 212. Welding sessions are based on a time-availability basis and are held in the Bridge Room, ASEC 10, on floor 1B. Any administrative meetings are announced in advance, but there are no regularly scheduled meetings.  
Q: Is there anything else that you would like to say about Steel Bridge Team?  
A: The Steel Bridge Team is open to all majors. If you are even remotely interested but are unsure, please reach out and a team member will be glad to give you a more in-depth look at the Steel Bridge