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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Three-Time Winner NJIT Heads To National Bridge Comp Following Regional Win

Much whooping and cheers could be heard for miles along the New Jersey waterfront as a team of NJIT civil engineering students ascended to the throne for the third consecutive year as top civil engineering students in the New York Metropolitan Region.

These 14 NJIT engineering students, all from New Jersey, took a first place overall win in the 2008 Metropolitan Regional Steel Bridge Competition. The event was held this past weekend at Stevens Institute of Technology.

“I'm so proud of our team,” said team co-captain Indira Hernandez, Elizabeth. “Each member contributed to this victory. Team effort, dedication and hard work definitely paid off.”

Nishant Shah, Parsippany, the other co-captain, looks forward to the upcoming national competition set for Memorial Day at the University of Florida, Gainesville. “Our strategy is to optimize construction time with the least amount of builders while reducing the overall weight.”

(ATTENTION EDITORS: This is a strong and highly visible story with the bonus of reporters learning more about how infrastructure works during a critical time when the nation’s bridges remain under serious scrutiny.  Interview and photograph Indira, Nishant or any of their future bridge builders. Sit in on sessions as these undergrads design a winning strategy. Professional quality photos of each student and event are available upon request. Call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436, for times, dates, etc.)

The NJIT students competed against engineering teams from City College of New York, Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Cooper Union, Rutgers University, the College of New Jersey and Stevens.   The NJIT team included Giancarlo Fricano, Bridgewater; Shafali Patel, Jersey City; Hertzler Awuy, Edison. Other members were: Tien Tran, Belleville; Arthur Aquino, Jersey City; Kaeside Iwuagwu, Englewood; Eric Wilson, Sparta; and Tiago Rodrigues, Woodbridge. Yet more were: David Lam, Northfield; Hai Pham, Jersey City; Joseph Juzwin, Mt. Arlington; Alberto Rodriguez, West Orange.

“I have found this competition to be a marvelous teaching tool because students learn valuable professional skills in a hands-on, do-it-yourself environment,” said John Schuring.  Schuring, a civil engineering professor at NJIT, is one of the team’s advisors. “The event teaches how to work in a group environment, helping students learn the skills of leadership, problem solving, and time management. Event sponsors are the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Institute of Steel Construction.”  Team technical advisors included Frank Johansson, a laboratory supervisor, and Alan Slaughter, an adjunct professor.

Each student team must design and build a reduced-scale bridge that is capable of carrying a 2,500 lb. load. The ideal bridge must be lightweight, yet exhibit a strong structure that can be quickly assembled by the least number of people. The process includes first designing and testing ideas, followed by fabricating parts in an NJIT lab. The last step is to build the design with other contestants at annual competitions. This year the NJIT team also worked with a corporate sponsor, Schiavone Constructors and Engineers of Secaucus, NJ. 

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.