Engineer Avery Bang is all about making connections. As the executive director for Bridges to Prosperity, a non-profit that constructs pedestrian bridges in the developing world, Avery helps design bridges that connect rural populations with much-needed access to education, health care, commerce, and other community needs.
Through her online course, Cable-Supported Pedestrian Bridge Design, she also helps build bridges by connecting socially responsible engineers to culturally appropriate footbridge technologies for developing communities.
“In developing communities, labor is often an abundant resource but the lack of tools, materials, and testing equipment can pose considerable challenges,” says Avery, a CU-Boulder graduate and civil engineer with years of on-the-ground training around the world. “This class creates an opportunity for inspired students from the developing world and the U.S. to get the training they need to build sustainable, appropriate structures.”
Avery took online courses through Center for the Advanced Engineering and Technology Education (CAETE) a few years ago, but she is now on the other side of the podium as a CAETE instructor.
CAETE is the distance-learning arm of the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Division of Continuing Education. CAETE’s bridge design course allows Avery to further her reach and work in developing countries.
“We can’t send people around the world to do workshops for everyone who asks. The CAETE opportunity allows both domestic and students abroad to tune in,” she says.
Avery was initially inspired as undergraduate student and through her first Bridges to Prosperity experience designing a 30-meter cable-suspended bridge in Peru. She was named one of the Engineering News-Record’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2012, and she hopes to inspire her students to find their passion as well.
“A huge part of our Bridges to Prosperity role in this development sector is to be a support network and training ground for other NGOs and engineers around the world who want to build these structures but just need the training,” she says.
“What I bring to the table is that academic rigor of having gone through a graduate program at CU-Boulder. I understand what students are looking for out of a graduate-level class, but at the same time, I have a practitioner’s approach to why that rigor is important and how it is used.”
Cable-Supported Pedestrian Bridge Design is now offered as part of CAETE’s Course Library, which offers access to more than 100 pre-recorded courses available online.
Learn more about the course library…
Click here to see Avery’s course on the CAETE website.
Pedestrian Bridge Design