Todd Wang (center) describes the history of the El Panama bridge, which was constructed in 2010 by EWB-Rice University and has allowed the community of El Panama safe access to Jinotepe year-round. Left to right: Nathaniel Dauth, Todd Wang, Preston Sutton, Jessica Sponem.
Student clubs are all about building bridges. But in the case of the Mines chapter of Engineers Without Borders, students are literally building bridges. Four members of the Mines chapter made a preliminary foray to the Jinotepe region of Nicaragua over the winter break in support of an upcoming bridge-building project. During the rainy season, isolated villages there become even more cut off when rivers swell. Suspended bridges, which require relatively little capital to build, can sometimes transform such communities if they permit year-round access to schools, markets, healthcare and other services. Graduate students Bridget Rossow and Nathaniel Dauth, undergrads Kevin Boxer and Preston Sutton, and professional engineer Todd Wang ’86 of CH2M Hill spent a week in the country meeting with local residents and surveying potential bridge sites. Mines EWB chapter hopes to construct several suspended bridges in the country over the next five years. For more on the project, visitinside.mines.edu/ewb. (Don’t miss our profile on Todd Wang.)