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Civil engineering students compete in national conference


UAA students recognized for their outstanding sportsmanship

ANCHORAGE, AK - A group of 13 engineering students recently returned from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Northwest Conference hosted by Washington State University on April 22-24, 2010 in Pullman, Washington.

The ASCE UAA Student Chapter is one of the 18 Pacific Northwest schools that participated in the annual competition. The conference is made up of four main events: Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge, Technical Paper and Presentation, and Business Meeting. Each year, the host school develops "mystery events" to add to the competition. This year's mystery events were Concrete Horseshoes, Impervious Concrete Competition and Old Fashion Surveying Competition.

This conference prepares students to enter the civil engineering practice by supplementing the university curriculum with professional and real world experiences. It provides great networking opportunities and allows students to work together as a team, using problem-solving techniques to come with an appropriate answer. "It allows us to 'think outside of the box' and apply our knowledge first hand," said civil engineering student Rachel Kidwell.

UAA was runner up for the outstanding performance award out of the 18 participating schools. UAA was one of two schools to participate in every event with only 13 students attending. The other school had 26 students attend. Each school was asked to vote on the top three schools for sportsmanship, and UAA was in the top three out of 18 schools.

Being in Alaska poses unique challenges to UAA's students. The team must ship its concrete canoe to the conference location three weeks prior to the event, with no guarantee that it'll arrive in one piece. Also, the team's 300-pound steel bridge must be disassembled and wrapped into 50-pound packages, which become the students' checked baggage.

It costs about $1,000 per person to attend the conference, an additional $2,000 to ship the canoe and between $1,000-$3,000 for supplies to prepare for the conference.

ASCE UAA Student Chapter's participation in the conference was supported by the following organizations: American Society of Civil Engineers Anchorage Branch, American Society of Civil Engineers Alaska Section; Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP); Arctic Foundations Inc.; Art and Fran Barkshire; BBFM Engineers Inc.; Brooks and Associates; Coffman Engineers Inc.; Criterium Alaska Engineers; CRW Engineering Group LLC; Franklin & Associates; HDR Engineering Inc.; Mikal Hendee; Kiewit Building Group Inc.; Lounsbury & Associates Inc.; PND Engineers Inc.; Professional & Technical Services Inc.; White Environmental Consultants; Donald Kinney; and Suzanne Lombardi.   


Steel Bridge  
Taylor Harper, Maria Karthnikova, Anna Ferntheil, Alex Read, Cory Morse
UAA had a solid performance with a construction time of 17.7 minutes, but was disqualified for excessive deflection.

Concrete Canoe
Women's Race Team: Rachel Kidwell, Anna Ferntheil, Jessica Jaroma, Maria Kartezhnikova; Men's Race Team: Kris Homerding, Cory Morse, Drew Nielson, Walter Graham, Jason Kewin
The women placed 4th overall and the men placed 8th overall.

Technical Paper and Presentation
Rachel Kidwell wrote and gave a presentation on the topic of "Ethics and the Civil Engineer of 2025."

Business Meeting
Each school is required to send representatives to a business meeting run by the host school. UAA had five students there, including the team's faculty advisor, Dr. T. Bart Quimby.

Mystery Event: Concrete Horseshoes
Corey Roche, Rachel Kidwell
Schools were notified of this challenge in advance and asked to prepare horseshoes made out of concrete to be used in a game of horseshoes against other schools. UAA was praised for the lightness and aesthetics of the horseshoes.

Mystery Event: Impervious Concrete
Jessica Jaroma, Alex Read
Students were asked to design a mix for pervious concrete and bring a sample to be tested. Pervious concrete is used worldwide to help with storm water runoff to reduce pollution by allowing water to percolate through while trapping other liquids such as oils and other hydrocarbons. UAA placed 3rd overall.

Mystery Event: Old Fashion Surveying Competition
Kris Homerding, Corey Roche, Crystal Dosser, Jason Kewin
Using "old fashioned" surveying techniques, students were given a theodolite, plum, prism, equation sheet, steel tape and tape tension gage and asked to determine the length of one side of their triangular course. UAA placed 5th overall.

Now that this year's conference is over, the ASCE UAA Student Chapter will turn its attention to planning for the 2011 Pacific Northwest Conference, which it will host in Anchorage, Alaska next spring. For more information about the ASCE UAA Student Chapter, visit http://asce-uaa.com/index.html. For more information about the 2010 ASCE Pacific Northwest Conference, visit http://asce.ce.wsu.edu/pnwrc2010/.
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