USF-SE Bridge Building Competition

THEA is excited to announce the 2023 USF-E Bridge Building Competition taking place at the University of South Florida College of Engineering EXPO! This competition supports THEA’s engagement with the Selmon STEM Scholarship (S3) Program, a program designed in honor of the late Lee Roy Selmon. THEA created the S3 program to honor Mr. Selmon’s wishes to give back to education by encouraging students to seek a STEM-related degree. 

The competition will take place on February 11th and is open to middle and high school students living in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties. The event is a big draw and often attracts over 50 teams from around the region. Each team is comprised of three kids who compete against others in their age range to design and build a bridge made out of balsa wood. The bridges are each tested against a strength machine that adds weight until the bridge reaches its load capacity. The motto for the competition is Design It – Build It – Destroy It! Teams have a blast working together on the design and then seeing how much weight it can bear before it breaks!

The USF-SE Bridge Building Competition began in the 1980s as a student-run project to connect the University with the area’s under-represented middle and high school students and provide a fun and educational enrichment opportunity in STEM philosophies. The competition encourages the collaboration necessary in real-life engineering projects.

Through its long partnership with USF, THEA seeks to provide mentorship, encourage the STEM mindset, and raise educational opportunities for Tampa Bay area students. For more information on this exciting event, you can visit