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VTA Engineer Bridges Work and Education

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Ken Ronsse isn’t a household name, but he’s somewhat of a celebrity among sixth grade students at Edenvale Elementary School in San Jose. For the past three years, Ronsse, a civil engineer and VTA’s Deputy Director of Engineering and Infrastructure Development, has introduced students to the world of engineering and bridge construction.

Inspired by Xander’s Crossing, a pedestrian bridge built by VTA near the school, students were tasked with developing blueprints, budgets and models for a pedestrian bridge which they presented to their classmates and judges. Sixth grade teacher Jacqui Murbach credits Ronsse with bringing this project to life. “This is the first time many of these students have met an engineer,” said Murbach. “Ken not only shares the fundamentals of good bridge design, he connects with the students and exposes them to a career in engineering.”
While more than twenty bridge projects were created, the field was narrowed down to five teams (voted on by classmates) for judging. 

Ronsse, along with a retired teacher and Edenvale’s principal, recently had an opportunity to judge the teams, among them “Team Truss Worthy” and “The STEAM Bridge.” In addition to being evaluated on meeting the project goals, budget, safety and materials used, the students developed and sharpened some valuable life skills. For many, there were nerves presenting in front of an audience. For others, they learned the challenge and reward of working in teams and the importance of time management. 

“The students continue to impress me with their passion, energy and insights,” said Ronsee, who’s been with VTA for more than 28 years. “It’s a privilege to play a role in their education and open the door to new ways of thinking and opportunity.”

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