'Flood-Proof' Bridge Design Sends Tulsa Girl Scouts To White House

Friday, May 23rd 2014, 6:17 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A team of young engineers from Tulsa is going to the White House next week. The team members were invited to show the president a design they've been working on.

The team is young; in fact, they believe they'll be the youngest ones at the White House Science Fair. They're Girl Scouts from Holland Hall, second graders, who saw a problem and came up with an idea to fix it.

The girls are practicing for what will be the biggest presentation of their young lives. They're going to take their idea for a flood proof bridge to the White House Science Fair.

Next week, they'll be shaking hands with the president.

"We're going to tell the president about our invention and how we came up with the idea," one of the troop members said.

The girls have been working for months, learning robotics and then designed the bridge, built it, and programmed the computer that runs it.

The idea came from a real flooding disaster in Colorado that destroyed a bridge.

"The two sides of the bridge raise up so the water won't wash away," one girl said.

"We decided to build this so cars, and ambulances, and fire trucks can get across to help people," a troop member said.

The design works with automatic sensors, so if there's too much water the bridge pulls up out of the way, and the school bus doesn't cross. When it lowers, the bus continues on.

Science projects like this are a growing part of Girl Scout programs, which are teaching science and technology.

Their trip to Washington comes as the White House Science Fair is emphasizing girls learning skills where they're underrepresented in the work force.

Troop Leader, Suzanne Dodson, said, "We've got some extraordinary girls within our troop, and Girl Scouts has given us this opportunity."

The girls will start with a skit they've been practicing and hope they finish with a personal moment with the president to tell them what they've been learning.

Only five girls will get in to the White House from the Holland Hall troop of 12 girls learning robotics. Other troops have their own robotics teams in Tulsa.