A Bridge to Civil Engineering - Billiken BEAMS Competition Winners

April 18, 2011

Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology hosted the first ever Billiken BEAMS (Building Engineering Awareness in Metro Saint Louis) competition for students currently enrolled in high schools in the metropolitan Saint Louis area.  The objective was to create awareness and increase loyalty of the engineering area among the targeted audience of educators and prospective students.


The Billiken BEAMS Competition was a group-based project opportunity, in which students used their innovation to build a structure to compete against other groups throughout the Saint Louis area. This year’s challenge was “A Bridge to Civil Engineering” in which student groups constructed a supported road based bridge out of balsa wood.  Teams designed, constructed and tested the most effective bridges that met competition evaluation criteria. The competition promoted excellence in engineering education.

This outreach program is to foster an interest in engineering among area middle and high school students and help our students understand the value of good citizenship and service. Each year, Parks College faculty plan and carry out a projects and contests directed towards interested student groups from middle schools and high schools in the area.

Under the guidance of SLU faculty and civil engineering students, high schools teams participated in the competition were prepared for the competition by attending a 45-60 minute workshop on November 20th and 21st, 2010 to model and design their project using state-of-the-art computer software before the actual competition on February 26th, 2011.

A total of 17 high school teams registered with a total of 68 students.  The idea and program was greatly appreciated by the high schools teachers and students. Parks civil engineering students were trained to use the software, and they played a key role in helping out the high school students to model and design their bridges.  The construction materials were distributed to the high schools to build the bridges.  The bridges were judged by faculty and practicing engineers.  The Billiken Beams workshop and competition turned out to be a huge success.

The winners of the Billiken Beams Competition were Gateway Institute of Technology in 1st place, the Visitation Academy in 2nd place, and Seckman Senior High School in 3rd place.

All the students did a great job in the competition and learned great deal from Billiken Beams experience.

For more information about the Billiken Beams Competition, please visit our event website by clicking here.

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