November 4, 2016

Students Build Bridges at the STEM Career Fair

STEM Career Fair

Sara Albritton, Davis & Floyd Staff Civil Engineer, assists two students with the Bridge Designer challenge (Photo – Kim McManus / SC Biz News)

Just the other week, over 2,000 students attended the Second Annual High School STEM Career Fair at the North Charleston Convention Center. STEM – which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – is integral in today’s classrooms as teachers prepare students for cutting-edge work in a variety of fields. Tens of thousands of new jobs in high-tech industries are announced every year in South Carolina with wages well above the average.

Davis & Floyd is one such employer and we’re always eager to inspire students who may be taking their first steps toward working with us one day in the future.

Casey Tompkins, our Talent Resource Manager, led the charge in talking to students about opportunities and challenges in the professional world of engineering, while Meri Thompson encouraged students to make personal connections with potential employers.

We spoke to many students interested in our work and engineering in general and many even participated in our unique, interactive contest – a challenge to build a bridge through a computer program called Bridge Designer. Clay Settle and Sara Albritton, engineers in our Charleston office, explained the challenge to students: They had to design a cost-effective bridge sturdy enough for a truck to make it across.

By choosing different elevations, configurations, piers, cables, materials, and trusses, students were able to configure different bridges at a variety of costs and see how their decisions would affect both functionality of the bridge and their theoretical project budget. A student from Cane Bay High School had the winning design by maximizing strength capacity of each structural component in order to deliver a bridge that worked while keeping the cost at a minimum.

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many bright minds, helping them connect the dots between what they’re learning in the classroom and the real-world opportunities that await them. We look forward to participating in next year’s STEM Career Fair and meeting more of our future hires!

Image of the winning bridge

The winning bridge