By Emmanuel Freeman
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University engineering students are helping to ensure that road infrastructures around Nashville are safe.
A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, are conducting a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.
As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings will be submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.
The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.
“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.
Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project. He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.
“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said. “This is a two-month project. We expect our final report to be ready and submitted to Metro by Dec. 15.”
Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members working with the students.
“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”
Overseeing the students and their professors’ work is a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.
“The students are providing us with a preliminary structural assessment of these bridges to be approved by our structural engineer,” said Jonathon Schneider, of the project management team. “So what they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges. Their performance is remarkable. We are looking forward to receiving their report.”
The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.
Earlier this year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.
Other students on the bridge project are: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.
Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, is the other faculty member on the project.