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Tech students build bridge for mentor

Tech students build bridge for mentor
I thought this would be a great way to teach that concept while also helping out a dear friend."
~ Mike Neden, associate professor

Max Lundquest has enjoyed many a night out on the island at the center of his quarter-acre pond.

It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. It’s a sanctuary.

Recently, the 32-foot bridge from his land to the island has started to show its age. By the longtime educator’s own admission, it was “falling apart.” How to fix it came up one day while Lundquest was fishing with a former student, Mike Neden.

“We were sitting together fishing for catfish,” Lundquest said, “and Mike told me that if I’d buy the materials, he had a class of students who could build me a new bridge.”

Neden, associate professor in Pittsburg State University’s technology and workforce learning department, said he wanted to take on the project out of his deep respect for Lundquest. But, he added, it also had many educational benefits for the students.

“This fits right into the construction portion of our program,” he said, “and I thought this would be a great way to teach that concept while also helping out a dear friend.”

Lundquest said the new bridge will be the third at his pond. The current bridge is more than 20 years old.

“This really means a lot to me,” Lundquest said. “Mike means a lot to me, and I have tremendous respect for all he’s done as a teacher. I’m glad it’s his class that is helping me get a new bridge.”

For the students, the project offers a variety of benefits and rewards.

“Max has been a great mentor to us students,” said senior Byron McKay. “He’s come to our classes to offer advice, give us help and make us laugh. It’s a pleasure getting to work on this project for him.”

Joe Bower, junior, said he enjoys the hands-on aspect of the project.

“It’s more authentic than just being in the classroom watching a demonstration or listening to a lecture,” he said.

Neden said the expects the bridge to be complete by May 18.