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LEDE: College students from across the country came to on Capitol Hill Wednesday with posters highlighting their research. One is a student from the University of Maryland Baltimore County who wants to use existing technology to improve the nation’s infrastructure.
Randy Atkins: Bridges across the country are nearing or past the age they were meant to last. Jenette Phillips, an engineering student at UMBC, showed lawmakers the problem.
Jenette Phillips: “…that giant hole is right through that beam, that is existing bridges…”
Randy Atkins: Jennette is working with another student, Alexandra Hain, from the University of Connecticut, using information from 3-D scanners to evaluate how much life is left in bridges, how much load they can take, and what maintenance needs to be done.
Jenette Phillips: These are systems that exist, the scanner exists, the software exists, so we already have all of the tools, we’re just the first people to put it together.
Randy Atkins: The project may help keep our bridges safe, but it’s already had an impact on Jenette.
Jenette Phillips: I chose this program specifically to see whether or not I wanted to stay in school at all, let alone in engineering. And now, I’m helping to support a revolutionary way to change how infrastructure is approached.
Randy Atkins: With The National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.
NOTE: Jenette Phillips was assisted by Alexandra Hain and Dr. Arash E. Zaghi of the University of Connecticut.