Area Students Build Toothpick Bridges at Clarkson University

First there was a creak. Then a crack. Finally, a crash as the toothpick bridges broke under the weight of a maximum load. 

The bridges were a design-and-build project of the Clarkson University Extended Day Program, a partnership with St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. Approximately 70 students took part in the challenge which culminated in a campus visit to test the load-bearing capacity of the bridges. Dylan Caratsole, a sixth-grader at Edwards-Knox Central School took first place with a load of 5.7 pounds. Close behind with a second-place finish were fifth-grader Ariana Kingsley and sixth-grader Gavin LaPage from Lisbon Central School.

Each week, Clarkson student mentors engage fifth through eighth-grade students in six local school districts in pre-engineering projects. Students learn about green energy, circuitry, robotics, coding, and other topics. The Extended Day Program is funded by a violence prevention grant from the New York State Education Department. The program is in its 9th year and has served over 1500 students.

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. We ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,300 students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions. Our alumni earn salaries that are among the top 2.5% in the nation and realize accelerated career growth. One in five already leads as a CEO, senior executive or owner of a company.

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