(April 8, 2020) – Three Maryland Student Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) Bridge Building Teams, including two all-female teams representing schools in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, have been selected as finalists in the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) National Bridge Challenge. 

“MDOT SHA is so impressed with of all the students who participated in the National Bridge Challenge and invested countless extra hours learning and practicing bridge design principles. We are particularly delighted to announce that three Maryland teams advanced through the competition and were named national finalists,” said Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administrator (MDOT SHA) Acting Administrator Tim E. Smith, P.E.  “Our sincerest appreciation to Maranna, Jescie, Yashsri, Darsana, Amna, Katrina, Sarah, Rafee and Dhruva for their outstanding work, recognized as among the best in the nation.  While we are all disappointed about the cancellation of the Spring National Conference, they have represented Maryland admirably and made us all very proud.”

All three TRAC finalist teams are Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation (CLF) students​, representing Chesapeake Science Point (CSP) in Hanover and Chesapeake Math and IT (CMIT) North Middle School in Laurel. 

CLF CEO Hakki Karamon said, “We are so proud of the CSP and CMIT students that qualified to represent our schools and the State of Maryland for the 2020 National AASHTO Bridge Builder Competition! They proved that they are hardworking, talented scholars who have the potential to make our lives better in the near future!”

The Maryland Bridge Challenge Finalists Teams are:
  • Savvy Scholars -- Maranna Nwozo, Jescie Tinio, Yashasri Gouda -- An all-female 7-8th grade team from Chesapeake Math and IT North Middle School in Laurel
  • Na³ -- Darsana Alagarsamy, Amna Tariq, Katrina Manalang -- An all-female 9-10th grade team from Chesapeake Science Point in Hanover
  • Bring Your Own Balsa (BYOB) -- Sarah Vo, Rafee Mirza, Dhruva Kothari -- An 11-12th grade team from Chesapeake Science Point in Hanover
The AASHTO National Bridge Challenge is part of the TRAC program, which the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administrator (MDOT SHA) has participated in since 2017.  In all, 17 Maryland teams from across the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area submitted balsa wood bridge projects to compete in this national challenge, which encourages careers in civil engineering.

While the AASHTO Spring Meeting -- where the National Bridge Challenge would have been held -- has been cancelled due to the current COVID-19 emergency, the nine students who would have participated in the event are receiving well-deserved accolades.

# # #
Editor’s note:  MDOT SHA has a record amount of highway construction projects underway across the state to reduce congestion and improve safety.  From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.