Ashley P. Thrall: NSF CAREER Project

Myron and Rosemary Noble Associate Professor

of Structural Engineering

University of Notre Dame
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
and Earth Sciences

Ashley P. Thrall


BRIDGES (Building Relationships to Inspire and Drive Girls to pursue Engineering and Science)


The Kinetic Structures Laboratory has partnered with Riley High School to develop a program aimed toward increasing the participation and retention of women in the engineering magnet program. BRIDGES is a before-school enrichment program for women enrolled in the magnet program in grades 9-12. It is led by Prof. Ashley Thrall, Ms. Kristen Haubold (Riley Faculty), and Sabrina Gaitan (Notre Dame Student Leader).


BRIDGES is a multi-faceted experience focusing on civil engineering. Meetings include seminars by Notre Dame faculty, hands-on activities and experiments, and a field trip. Not only will this program give students fundamental knowledge in a field of engineering, but it will also enable students to get to know other women in the program and interact with Notre Dame and Riley faculty. Regardless of a student's specific interests in engineering, students will learn problem-solving skills that are useful for any discipline. This program began in Fall 2014 and continued through Spring 2020.



2019-2020 Syllabus


September 3rd   



October 1st

Engineering Trivia

Family Feud

November 5th


Introduction to Forces

December 3rd

Loads on Bridge Pier Activity

January 14th

Structure Strength Activity

February 4th

Arch Bridges

Arch Bridge Basics

March 3rd

Arch Bridge Design Activity

April 14th

Build Your Own Arch Bridge


Field Trip



Photos from Prior Field Trips





This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. CMMI-1351272. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.