Left to Right: Bryson Ladd, Caitlin Lien, September Sahnow, Sadie Brackeen, Serena Moha, DJ Lopez, Aiden Shields, Abbey Briley, Daniel Duyvestein, Dr. CJ Riley

As part of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Institute of Steel Construction, students from Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering program participated in the Pacific Northwest Student Steel Bridge Competition held April 6 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The competition challenged students to design, fabricate, and construct a structurally efficient 20-foot-long steel bridge to safely support 2,500 pounds. The teams were required to determine how to fabricate their bridge and plan for an efficient assembly under timed construction conditions at the competition. Bridges are also load-tested, weighed, and judged on aesthetics.

The competition gave students applied experience, an opportunity to combine skills and creativity, and training in teamwork, communication, and project management.

Oregon Tech placed ninth out of 12 teams. Although the team’s bridge experienced a weld failure before it was fully loaded, it ranked slightly higher in lightness and economy.

Civil Engineering Professor and team advisor C.J. Riley, Ph.D., said the team had a great build time compared to practice builds. Additionally, Riley used the travel time to continue teaching.

“We took a fantastic driving tour around Vancouver looking at various bridges, Stanley Park, and the Low-Level Road Project, which won an Envision Platinum Sustainability Award. It had been discussed extensively during our CE405 Sustainability and Infrastructure course and it was awesome to see it in person,” Riley said.

Sophomore Caitlin Lien presented a technical paper at the competition exploring the professional ethics of artificial intelligence in civil engineering design. Riley also provided impromptu tensile testing lessons for Lien, who missed a metals tensile testing lab to attend the competition.

Riley said the inclusion of freshmen and sophomores on the team ensures team continuity in the next year and beyond.

“Our steel bridge captains this year were seniors Serena Moha and Alejandro Quinonez,” Riley said. “Captains and upperclassmen serve as mentors for our younger students, and I am excited to share that while we didn’t have a concrete canoe to enter the competition this year, we brought two students who are planning to be canoe team captains next year. They experienced the competition and are getting a head start on creating a new mold, working on mix designs, and generally organizing the lab and our materials for success next year.”

2023-2024 Steel Bridge Team members:
Daniel Duyvestein
Bryson Ladd
DJ Lopez (American Society of Civil Engineers-Associated General Contractors ASCE-AGE chapter president)
Serena Moha (captain)
Alejandro Quinonez (co-captain)
Aiden Shields

Other students who traveled to Vancouver:
Sadie Brackeen (ASCE-AGC chapter treasurer)
Abbey Briley (ASCE-AGC chapter vice president)
Caitlin Lien (technical paper and future concrete canoe captain)
September Sahnow (future concrete canoe captain)

To learn more about Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering program, visit