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November 29, 2020
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Jackson County Students Sweep State Competition

Jackson, Miss.—Middle and high school students from around the state recently competed in the annual Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC™) Bridge Building Challenge at the Clyde Muse Center on the Rankin campus of Hinds Community College in Pearl.

TRAC™ is an education outreach program of the Mississippi Department of Transportation and introduces students to a variety of career opportunities in the field of engineering. The program teaches students how to apply math and science concepts to help identify and resolve engineering barriers in the transportation industry.

MDOT utilizes STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as a learning tool in the program and provides each team with a TRAC Challenge Entry Kit, materials and guidelines to construct a bridge. Each participating team then submits a portfolio with their bridge design, a PowerPoint presentation and the strength-to-weight ratio of their bridge.

“This TRAC™ competition gives students the opportunity to learn about bridge building through hands-on experience,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath, P.E. “MDOT’s goal is to inspire young students to explore the world of engineering while they have fun learning about the functionality of bridges in a transportation system.”

During the competition, teams present their PowerPoint presentations and test their bridge for mechanics and strength-to-weight ratio. The top three teams in each grade category are honored.

The 2017 Mississippi TRAC™ Bridge Building Challenge winners are as follows.

7th and 8th Grade:

First Place – ECMS 8th Grade Team from East Central Middle School in Moss Point
Second Place – Team Phoenix from East Union Attendance Center in Blue Springs
Third Place – Master Bridge Builders from Long Beach Middle School

9th and 10th Grade:

First Place – MTN Engineering (MP STEM Team) from Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center
Second Place – Three Engineers from East Union Attendance Center in Blue Springs
Third Place – Trilet from Forrest County Agricultural High School in Brooklyn

11th and 12th Grade:

First Place – Engineering Knights (MP STEM Team) from Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center
Second Place – Quest (MP STEM Team) from Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center
Third Place – Mantachie Macho Men from Mantachie High School

On Tuesday, June 27, the first place winners in the 7th-8th grade and 11th-12th grade division were recognized at a meeting of the Mississippi Transportation Commission at MDOT Headquarters in Jackson.

This competition displays how Mississippi’s students are learning about transportation while excelling in STEM education. For more information about MDOT’s STEM education outreach programs, visit https://mdot.ms.gov/stemeducation/.

First Place 7/8 – ECMS 8th Grade Team, East Central Middle School, Moss Point (pictured from left): Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert; Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall; Johnathan May, team sponsor; Ben McDowell; Ray Goodwin; Tyler Sperry; MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath; and, Transportation Commissioner Tom KingFirst Place 9/10 – MTN Engineering (MP STEM Team), Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center, Moss Point (pictured from left): Jarrod Ravencraft, MDOT Public Affairs Division Director; Malik Hudson; TeShawna Sanders; Noah Howland; Matt Dunn, National TRAC Program Co-Chair and MDOT District 1 Maintenance Engineer; and, Selena Standifer, MDOT Public Affairs Division Deputy Director.Second Place 11/12 – Quest (MP STEM Team), Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center, Moss Point (pictured from left): Jarrod Ravencraft, MDOT Public Affairs Division Director; Kobe Sanders; Jacob Maki; Sabrina Gonzalez; Matt Dunn, National TRAC Program Co-Chair and MDOT District 1 Maintenance Engineer; and, Selena Standifer, MDOT Public Affairs Division Deputy Director.First Place – Engineering Knights (MP STEM Team), Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center, Moss Point (pictured from left): Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert; Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall; James Poindexter; Alysia Rester; Shannon Lewis; Billy Carroll, team coach; MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath; and, Transportation Commissioner Tom King.

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