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James D. Cooper Student Poster Competition

The International Bridge Conference® (IBC) James D. Cooper student poster competition is open to college and university engineering students in the United States and worldwide.


Congratulations to the 2024 Winners:

Intelligent Detection of Damage in Bridges Using an Unsupervised Deep Learning Paradigm
Yuxi Cao, University of Washington

Evaluate Use of 300 KSI Strands for TXDOT Prestressed Girders
Arjun Basnet, University of Texas at San Antonio


Previous winners can be found here.

Two winning posters will be selected.  The winning posters will receive a $500 Fellowship, complimentary conference registration and, hotel and travel allowances to attend the 41st IBC, June 3-5, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas.

Additionally, the top 10 poster authors, including the two winners, will be invited to present their poster at the IBC.  The posters will be located in the hall adjacent to the rooms with all the technical sessions.  Students will be required to be present at their poster during the session breaks.  Nearly 1,000 bridge designers, consultants, owners, contractors, and academia regularly attend the IBC.  The poster award and display are a fantastic opportunity for students to network with prospective employers in the bridge industry. Poster presenters are encouraged to bring their resume and provide their LinkedIn or similar profile on their poster.  Handouts of the poster in an 11”x 17” paper format are also permitted at the IBC.

Student posters can fall within one of the IBC Technical Session Topics listed below.  Alternatively, students can create posters based on current graduate or undergraduate research work they are conducting, bridge case studies, or on meaningful co-op/internship experiences/projects they want to share.

Posters must be authored only by students; posters co-authored by faculty advisors are not eligible. Posters will be judged by the IBC Executive Committee.  Student competition posters must be submitted no later than March 31, 2024.

Winning entries will be notified in April 2024. Invitations to present posters at the IBC will also be made at this time.  The Student Poster Awards Committee reserves the right to not make an award.

Questions may be directed to Kristina Emmerson of ESWP, at

Award Background

James D. Cooper was an internationally recognized structural engineer and leader in the field of bridge engineering, with a specialty in earthquake engineering who passed away in November 2005.  In 1973, Jim was appointed to a full-time position as a Research Structural Engineer with the FHWA, where he was responsible for establishing the FHWA’s earthquake engineering Research, Development, and Technology program. He led the development of new national seismic design guidelines for highway bridges that was later adopted by AASHTO in 1983.  In 1989, Jim was appointed Chief of the FHWA Structures Research Division, and the Technical Director of for all bridge-related research and development activities in the mid-1990s.  In 2000, Jim was appointed as Director of the Office of Bridge Technology, the highest bridge engineering position within the FHWA, providing national leadership and guidance in the development of policies, standards, and bridge related criteria for the Federal Aid Highway Bridge Program.

Jim retired from the FHWA in 2003.  Jim authored or co-authored numerous research and practice papers in bridge and earthquake engineering.  During his working career, and after his retirement, Jim continued to serve as a director and steering committee member for several prestigious bridge engineering organizations and societies, including the ESWP International Bridge Conference.  James D. Cooper’s numerous contributions to making the IBC a success are recognized by this prestigious award.

IBC Technical Session Topic Listing

1. Alternate Project Delivery Methods
2. Bridge Management, Inspection, Evaluation, and Rehabilitation
3. New Technology, BIM, and Software
4. Bridge Construction and Construction Engineering
5. Bridge Design and Analysis
6. Bridge Research

Award Competition Guidelines

The IBC Student Poster Award Display is a valuable opportunity for authors to present specific topics and meet with interested attendees for in-depth discussions and networking. This IBC poster session will be very well attended and a popular feature at this year’s conference. Good planning can make your presentation clear, effective, and rewarding. Designing effective posters requires careful thought and advanced preparation. Posters that are simply a PowerPoint presentation or short manuscript will generally receive low grades from the judges.

The goals in designing a poster should be:

  1. To attract attention,
  2. To provide a clear overview of the specific project,
  3. To provide enough material to explain the research or project without an oral explanation, and
  4. To provide enough material to initiate discussion and questions.

Display Format

  1. The poster is to be no more than 24” x 36”.
    • Foam Core Board and Mounting Easel will be available at the IBC Registration Desk.
  2. Your Poster Title and your Name and University/College should be displayed at the top of the poster with lettering not smaller than 1”.
  3. All other text should not be smaller than 0.5”.
  4. The preferred font is Arial.

Poster Content

  1. Company logos may not appear more than once and cannot exceed 3” x 3”
  2. The Poster must not be a commercial/product sales poster. Any poster deemed to be overtly commercial will be disqualified.
  3. Simply displaying a printed copy of a paper is not permitted.
  4. Use of pictures, graphs, charts or tables is strongly encouraged and recommended. Large blocks of text are discouraged. Use enhancing techniques to emphasize important points such as use of different colors or highlight markers. Keep it simple as Posters should be easily seen from a distance of 3’ – 6’.
  5. The poster should be organized in a logical manner i.e. top to bottom or left to right.
  6. Suggestions:
    1. Simplicity and clarity are keys to an effective poster.
      1. Avoid overwhelming the poster with too much information. The casual viewer should be able to identify the main messages after a quick look at the poster.
      2. Identify a limited number of messages viewers should take away. The messages should be clear, novel, and important.
    2. The author should consider including the following as appropriate:
      1. Title, poster and paper number, author names, affiliation
      2. Introduction / Objectives
      3. Statistical or Analytical Methods
      4. Summary / Results
      5. Conclusions

The competition has closed, thank you for your submissions!