NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The IBS Build-a-Bridge competition, which is now in its 12th year, will feature competitors from 21 high schools, of which five are from the Family Islands, according to IBS principal Nick Dean.
The competition is won by weighing the bridges and using an efficiency ratio. Bridges that are the lightest but carry the heaviest load will win the competition. The judges take the popsicle stick bridges that are built and place them on a testing apparatus that is loaded with iron weights and sand.
Dean said the competition is geared toward getting students interested in the field of engineering and applied science.
IBS has been offering a summer internship program to one member of the winning team for the past two years. Dean said that he is excited to see which team will win this year, and who will be awarded this year’s internship.
“Some of them are actual engineering graduates now, some are still in engineering school and we actually permanently hired two of the kids that were in previous years competitions,” Dean said.
According to Dean, over the past 12 years, they have had more than 1,000 students come through the build-a-bridge program and a lot of them have gained job opportunities at IBS, which has aided in their careers.
A member of last year’s winning team, Lacoya Noel told Eyewitness News Online that the experience at the build-a-bridge competition and working at IBS has been a tremendous one, especially being a recent high school graduate.
Noel said that she encourages students that have the build-a-bridge challenge program at their schools to join and take advantage of the opportunities.
“Working with the engineering firm has motivated me more to pursue engineering as a career. Just seeing all the teamwork and the lasting bonds that you make motivated me to push even more,” she said.