Bridge design brings in thousands for needy students

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Award money comes in, and it’s immediately paid forward to some well-deserving New Haven engineering scholars who need the funds to help nurture their budding academic interests.

“It could be the difference between making it all four years and having to stop halfway through,” said Kevin Rivas, a mechanical engineering student at University of New Haven.

The New Haven Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge beat out hundreds of other construction projects, and was awarded $10,000 for design and engineering. Connecticut Department of Transportation is donating that prize money directly to the New Haven Promise program. They said funding the costs for young engineers is a bridge to a successful region.

“There’s nothing more important than education and what education does for transforming opportunity for people,” said DOT Commissioner James Redeker. “Particularly in New Haven.”

In exchange for making good grades, the New Haven Promise is currently funding the college education for over 600 New Haven public high school graduates. Most of the students go to college in state and many remain in the area after graduation. Organizers said they’re already seeing a return on investment.

“Those scholars are already coming back to New Haven and deciding to start careers in the region,” said Patricia Melton, executive director for New Haven Promise.

Jevaughn Brodie is a Gateway engineering student interested in aerospace ever since taking high school calculus. Through Promise, he’s able to connect his passion for learning with the funding to make it his living.

“Elevated my interest when I took Calculus III. Had to calculate the volume of a solid,” Brodie said. “(The) solid was shaped as an airplane cockpit. And it just opened my eyes to a lot of interesting opportunities in the engineering field. Especially in aerospace.”

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