Spaghetti Bridge Competition Set For March 18-19 at Ferris

logoThe 12th annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition will have Michigan high school students tangled up in fun March 18 and 19 at Ferris State University in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room.

With 23 four-member teams, this year’s event brings high school students to campus to compete with opportunities to display their building talents, pick up some cash and perhaps earn Ferris academic scholarships. Students from high school teams that place first, second or third in the competition receive non-transferrable Ferris scholarship awards. Each student from the first-place team receives a $2,000 scholarship, each student from the second-place team earns a $1,000 scholarship and each student from the third-place team receives a $500 scholarship. In addition to the awarded scholarships, there are cash awards that range from $300 to $50 presented to the winners.

Beyond scholarships and cash awards, the Spaghetti Bridge Competition is an educational experience for the students who visit Ferris to assemble, with two pounds of lasagna and three lasagna noodles, an accurate reproduction of the bridge to be judged. Students compete in four different categories: an authentic bridge display, an oral presentation, a written report and a load-bearing competition that allows students to build bridges out of spaghetti.

“It’s great for us. As faculty, we see students that show they can do research, do a presentation, plan ahead and some plan for months,” said John Vermeer, a professor in Ferris’ College of Business and creator of the competition at Ferris. “These are the kinds of students we want to see as our future students.”

The load-bearing competition is scheduled for Saturday, March 19 in the Dome Room beginning at 11 a.m. All people interested are welcome to attend the two-hour building event. This will be followed by a test of each bridge’s strength.

“The thing I like is it began strictly as an engineering competition, but it has evolved into much more,” said Beth Reynolds, Spaghetti Bridge Competition coordinator and an adjunct professor in Ferris’ Languages and Literature department. “The students will get a well-rounded experience in the two-day competition.”

Public and private schools from around Michigan are scheduled to compete in this year’s event. Among the schools scheduled to compete are Whitefish Township Community Schools, Michigan Health Academy and University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

Reynolds, thrilled to be a part of planning the competition, added, “I love it. The high school students have so much energy.”

“I like that it brings together faculty and staff from a number of disciplines, including folks from the College of Engineering Technology. Judges, a few former teachers who have retired, come back to participate to experience this event,” Reynolds said.

The students involved in the competition will be given an opportunity to tour campus and learn about a variety of technical programs such as Plastics and Rubber Engineering Technology, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration), and Dental Hygiene. Students also will learn about professional programs at Ferris offered through the Michigan College of Optometry, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Business.

The 2010 first-place load-bearing bridge winner was made by Suspense Builders from Clinton High School in Clinton. The replica held 92.5 lbs.

The competition is sponsored by Academic Affairs. For more information about the event contact Beth Reynolds at (231) 591-3077 or

Learn more about the Spaghetti Bridge Competition, here.

07 March, 2011