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Oregon Tech Civil Engineering Students Finish Strong in Regional Competition

Apr 24, 2015
Oregon Tech’s student organization participated in events with college chapters from Alaska to Montana at this three-day event

As part of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 17 students from Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering program traveled to Idaho State University in Pocatello to participate in the 2015 ASCE Pacific Northwest Student Competition on April 16-18.

Oregon Tech’s student organization, along with professors Dr. Matthew Sleep and Dr. CJ Riley, participated in events with college chapters from Alaska to Montana at this three-day event. The competition requires civil engineering students to design and fabricate a steel bridge to hold 2500 pounds and construct a concrete canoe that floats and can support paddlers to compete in a race.

The competition gives students applied experience, an opportunity to combine skills and creativity, as well as training in teamwork, communication, and project management skills. The competition challenges students' knowledge, creativity, and stamina while showcasing the versatility and durability of their projects.

concrete canoe 2015

The concrete canoe team performed great in the races with two 2nd place finishes, and top five placement in all race categories. Scoring of the competition is divided into four equal parts: the final product, a presentation, a paper and the race results.

“The concrete canoe team has been working since last spring quarter (2014),” said Dr. Matthew Sleep, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Oregon Tech and the concrete canoe advisor. “This year the canoe team utilized a new canoe mold, mix and hull designs. The new hull was designed for the tight turns required during races and the mix was designed for strength while being lighter than water. The students learned how to problem solve, research information, and how important attention to details can be. In addition, they learned the value of collaborative teamwork. I am extremely proud of our students.”

The steel bridge is designed in the fall, fabricated during winter term and brought to the competition in pieces for reassembly at the event. Bridge criteria judges stiffness, construction time, and weight.

steel bridge 2015

“The 2015 steel bridge team did a phenomenal job of modeling their bridge and addressing strength, stiffness and stability concerns prior to starting fabrication,” shared Dr. CJ Riley, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and ASCE Student Chapter and steel bridge faculty advisor. “They overcame some challenges related to fabrication of their connections and produced an outstanding bridge that met one of their primary goals of improving stiffness.”

The steel bridge team just missed nationals, placing 3rd in the stiffness and efficiency categories. The team also placed 3rd in the environmental competition. Apart from these great showings, Oregon Tech’s students competed in EVERY event.

“These are real successes in a year when a majority of the bridges at the competition were disqualified due to some very difficult requirements. The bridge team this year has developed a strong cadre of young civil engineering students to carry their momentum into next year with a goal of heading to nationals,” said Dr. Riley.

Oregon Tech student attendees:
Steven Reed
Michael Sparks
Kevin Johnston
Austin Nickerson
Andrew Gordon
Brion Scott
Chris Wrenn
Tamara Evans
Daniel Winn
Brittany White
Ricky Rumere
Aaron Gallinat
Stephen Snellgrove
Marisan (Grace) Elisabeth
Austin Deanhardt
Garrett Stephens
Kenny Shultz

To learn more about Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering program, please visit www.oit.edu/academics/degrees/civil-engineering. Oregon Tech is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

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