[caption id="attachment_32888" align="aligncenter" width="709"]<img class="size-full wp-image-32888" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2018\/05\/Statewide-bridge-design-and-build-pic.png" alt="" width="709" height="520" \/> Students from around the state participated in the West Virginia Bridge Design & Build contest finals, with three students from Greenbrier East High school winning the Jimmy Wriston, P.E. Design Award.[\/caption]\r\n<h1>Winners have been announced for the 17th Annual West Virginia Bridge Design & Build Contest Statewide Finals, which took place Saturday, May 12, in the Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex at Marshall University.<\/h1>\r\nWV State Senator Robert H. \u201cBob\u201d Plymale, West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Thomas J. Smith, P.E., and Benjy Simpson of BridgeWalk were in attendance to present the awards. Secretary Smith also served as the keynote speaker and discussed his engineering career with the 150 middle school and high school students and their parents, siblings, and teachers who were in attendance.\r\n\r\nDuring the Statewide Finals, teams competed in an endurance round and a speed round of bridge design. Winners were awarded based on their combined cost from both rounds.\r\n\r\nHigh School Division Winners of the Jimmy Wriston, P.E. Design Award included:\r\n\r\n1st Place: \u201cImagineer\u201d - Summer McElwain from Greenbrier East High School\r\n\r\n2nd Place: \u201cme_myself_and_I\u201d - Laura Leyzorek from Pocahontas County High School\r\n\r\n3rd Place: \u201cPier Pressure\u201d - Savannah Weikle and Taylor Stickley from Greenbrier East High School.\r\n\r\nPrior to the event, finalists were mailed materials to construct a balsa bridge that met certain specifications and those bridges were load tested during Saturday\u2019s event. All of the bridges were loaded until they failed, which allowed the strength-to-weight ratio to be calculated for each bridge. The winners of the balsa bridge portion of the contest included:\r\n\r\nHigh School Division Winners of the Benjy Simpson BridgeWalk Balsa Bridge Award:\r\n\r\n1st Place: \u201cSkyward\u201d - Nicolas Null and Nathan Null from Woodrow Wilson High School\r\n\r\n2nd Place: \u201cme_myself_and_I\u201d - Laura Leyzorek from Pocahontas County High School\r\n\r\n3rd Place: \u201ctEAM\u201d - Connor Mann from Saint Albans High School.\r\n\r\nOutstanding Teacher Awards were presented to five teachers, with special recognition given to two teachers who have had teams at the final competition every year for the past 15 years, one of which was Barbara McElwain of Greenbrier East High School.\r\n\r\nThe qualifying round for the West Virginia Bridge Design & Build Contest started in the fall of 2017 and ran until Mar. 31. The contest is open to all West Virginia middle school and high school students grade 6-12. Students have the option of entering in teams of one or two. To officially enter, a team must submit a bridge design using software that is provided on the contest website, with the objective of designing the lowest cost bridge that holds a required load. There were 262 teams that entered the qualifying round, 116 from high schools and 146 from middle schools. The 40 top-ranked teams were invited to the finals, with 36 of them accepting their invitation.\r\n\r\nThe West Virginia Bridge Design & Build Contest was sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT), the Appalachian Transportation Institute (ATI), BridgeWalk, the Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability University Transportation Center (MATS UTC), and the Marshall University College of Information Technology and Engineering. The contest promotes STEM education and career exploration by providing middle school and high school students with a realistic, hands-on introduction to civil engineering.\r\n\r\nThe contest website is http:\/\/wvbridgedesignandbuildcontest.com\/. Event pictures can be found at https:\/\/www.flickr.com\/gp\/155143745@N07\/Ud6Qf7.