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T.Y. Lin International Gives Back to Academic Community at UC Berkeley

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T.Y. Lin International (TYLI), a globally recognized, full-service infrastructure consulting firm, announces that TYLI engineers from the firm’s San Francisco office volunteered their time as instructors for a Spring 2017 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering course on bridge design at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Marwan Nader, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Vice President and Technical Director for the firm’s Bridge Line of Business, supported by TYLI senior bridge engineers George Baker, P.E., Carol Choi, P.E., and Norman Quach, P.E., S.E., led the course.

The course objective was to expose UC Berkeley civil engineering students to industry-true scenarios involving the design and construction of bridges. To mimic a real-life situation, the 25-person class was split into five design teams tasked with entering a design competition. The teams were asked to provide preliminary designs for a vehicular bridge across the American River near Sacramento, California. Students were given the freedom to design the bridge in concrete or steel, and to choose from among girder, truss, arch/tied arch, cable-stayed, and suspension bridge types.

“Teaching this class is our way to give back the academic community,” said Nader, a UC Berkeley alumnus who was appointed to the UC Berkeley Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) Advisory Council in 2014. “Engineering curricula often focus on theory. A class like this can provide much-needed, hands-on industry knowledge and better prepare students to become practicing engineers when they graduate.”

During the 15-week semester, the instructors provided lectures and workshops on a range of topics, such as superstructure design, cable systems, piers and foundations, and abutments, as well as analysis, constructability, and presentation skills. Class finals included an “in-person interview,” where students were asked to submit technical and financial proposals and present their bridge design to the class.

“The students learned to take stock of what they know and build it into a product,” said Baker.

"It was gratifying to be able to help the students link their knowledge from their other classes to produce something like what we would see here in practice,” added Quach.

The course was held in Room 502 of UC Berkeley’s Davis Hall, where a wall is dedicated to Professor T.Y. Lin, TYLI founder and world-renowned structural engineer, and where a number of his works are displayed. This was of special significance for the students and TYLI instructors, including UC Berkeley alumnus Carol Choi.

“I recalled when I was here as a student and how seeing Professor Lin’s work inspired me to become a bridge engineer,” said Choi. “I certainly hope that we have inspired the next generation to join our field.”