Bridging the Gap
Oftentimes, the best way to learn is by doing.
In the spring semester, Edward M. Curtis Visiting Professor Luis B. Fargier-Gabaldon created and ran a new class for our graduate students called Sizing Bridges. As the name implies, the class focused on the design of bridges — both historical and modern.
"Students were exposed to some of the most remarkable structures the world has ever seen," Fargier-Gabaldon said. "They learned about not just the design but the tools required to design them."
Additionally, Fargier-Gabaldon said, a good deal of class time was spent studying the history and evolution of bridges and bridge design over the centuries. The class culminated with students being tasked to recreate their own scale model bridges.
Edward M. Curtis Visiting Professor Luis B. Fargier-Gabaldon created and ran a new class for our graduate students called Sizing Bridges.
"The riskiest task the engineer faces is actually building the bridge," Fargier-Gabaldon said. "Lectures and studying can only do so much. For a person to gain the best possible knowledge in the field of building bridges, they need to actually build a bridge."
Participating graduate students shared Fargier-Gabaldon's sentiment, saying they learned a tremendous amount over the course of the semester.
"I've had a few classes that focus on building codes and best practices but not one that was so heavily focused on actually designing one," said PhD student Will Pollalis. "What we were able to do in this class is not typically something you hear about."
"In this class you got to see for yourself, through your own experience, what actually works," added Master's student Dimos Vogdanos. "It was a great experience."
Edward M. Curtis Visiting Professor Luis B. Fargier-Gabaldon (center), Lyles School of Civil Engineering Master’s student Dimos Vogdanos (left), and PhD student Will Pollalis review one of the bridges built in the Sizing Bridges class.