Home Outreach

The Department of Civil Engineering is dedicated to lending its services to the community. The overall goal is prepare K-12 students for studies in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)- related fields and pursue careers in engineering. This is done by engaging students though hands-on activities that generate creativeness and inspire them to become technically savvy.


22nd Annual Toothpick Bridge Competition                                                                                   




This Spring, the High Bay Lab was proud to host the 22nd Annual Toothpick BridgeCompetition for the second time. Organized by the American Society of CivilEngineers(ASCE) on February 25. The regional contestwas hosted by the Civil EngineeringDepartment of UMD’s Swenson College of Science & Engineering. 

The students competed for awards in strongest and most aesthetically pleasingbridgecategories. Many UMD students, faculty and staff were on hand to help with the event and provide tours of the engineering departments and labs. 

Entries in the strongest bridge competition had to weigh less than 90 ounces. High schoolers from Bayfield, WI took first prize by designing a structure that supported an amazing total of 191 pounds!high school students were able to see what they can do withtoothpicks and architecture on a small scale. Students from a dozen regional highschools competed for strength and creativity for their bridge structures.

The bridges weighed only about a third of a pound, but some can hold 150 pounds. Students were also judged on their bridge's appearance. Some put so much work into their project that they did not want the bridge tested, since this would destroy their creation.

John Hinzman, a member of ASCE stated, "We believe this is an excellent learning experience for students who possibly want to get into engineering or understand engineering a little better."


Engineering Day

This fall, UMD hosted the annual Bulldog Engineering Day. The goal of Bulldog Engineering Day is to sharpen interest in the minds of high school and middle school students and explore opportunities available in engineering. Students were given opportunities to explore Civil, Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical, and Industrial Engineering who put on various demonstrations relating to their category. The Civil Engineering demonstrations included the flume, structures/earthquakes on the shake table, soil stability, and construction materials testing.


State Fair

UMD Civil Engineering students and staff helped man the UMD booth at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair. This group of volunteers used this opportunity to promote the Swenson Civil Engineering School at UMD by discussing the facility attributes with fair attendees and organizing a stage presentation on engineering principles that culminated in a marshmallow and toothpick structure competition for kids to demonstrate the engineering principles that were discussed. The structures were placed on a shake table to test their strength. All participants had a great time.


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Last modified on 08/25/15 01:34 PM
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