ROLLA - Lauren Coulter from Edwardsville is a part of Missouri S&T's Steel Bridge Design Team which recently won first place at a regional American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Mid-Continent Student Conference and will now put their bridge engineering and construction skills to the test at the national level.

Lauren Coulter a senior at Missouri S&T from Edwardsville is a part of this team.

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The national finals competition results will be announced on June 3. Both the regional and national competitions are held virtually this year.

At the regional event, S&T earned first place overall, as well as first place in construction speed and aesthetics, and second place in bridge lightness, bridge economy, and efficiency. This is the third competition in a row that Missouri S&T has won the regional competition and qualified for the national event.

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At the national competition, Missouri S&T's Steel Bridge Design Team will compete against other collegiate teams from around the country to construct a scale-model bridge as fast as possible. The competition is scored based on a dollar amount rather than a points system. This scoring simulates the accounting process involved in determining the budget for an actual bridge construction project.

The bridge is scored on its weight and rigidity, construction speed and the number of team members building the bridge. Penalties are assessed for infractions like dropping bolts, holding two pieces of the bridge at once and stepping over designated lines.

The Student Steel Bridge Competition is designed to supplement a civil engineering education with a comprehensive student-driven project experience from conception and design through fabrication, construction and testing. The result should be a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy. The competition also increases awareness of real-world engineering issues like spatial constraints, material properties, strength, safety and cost.

The Steel Bridge Design Team is one of the 20 student-run groups in Missouri S&T's Student Design and Experiential Learning Center (SDELC). The SDELC, housed in the Kummer Student Design Center, provides teams with computer design laboratories, a manufacturing shop, office space and logistical support. Design teams mirror small start-up companies that plan large-scale projects, organize into departments, raise funds, communicate their ideas and solve open-ended design challenges. Almost every team competes annually at an event against other collegiate teams from around the country and the world.

For more information about the teams, visit

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