Oregon Tech Civil Engineering Students Advance to National Steel Bridge Competition

Twenty-five students in the Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” civil engineering program traveled to Saint Martin’s University in Washington to participate in the 2019 Pacific Northwest American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Conference and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Regional Event on April 11–13. Oregon Tech’s steel bridge team placed second overall, giving them a spot at the national competition to be held May 31 and June 1 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Pacific Northwest Student Conference is one of the 19 ASCE regional student chapters in the U.S. Held last year at Oregon Tech’s campus in Klamath Falls, the PacNW conference includes 19 schools in the region from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Oregon Tech’s ASCE-AGC Student Chapter, along with faculty adviser Dr. C.J. Riley and lab technician Pat Kile, participated in events that require civil engineering students to design and fabricate a steel bridge to hold 2,500 pounds and construct a concrete canoe that floats and can support up to four paddlers to compete in races, among other engineering competitions.

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

AISC Steel Bridge Competition:

  • Civil engineering students are challenged to create a steel bridge from conception and design through fabrication, timed assembly, and load testing. The bridge is fabricated off-site and brought to the competition to be constructed in a timed event by a team of no more than six builders. The bridge is then tested in lateral and vertical load tests of up to 2,500 pounds.
  • Bridge criteria judge aesthetics, construction time, lightness, stiffness, construction economy, and structural efficiency.
  • Oregon Tech results: Only four of 12 teams were not disqualified this year, narrowing the field substantially. Oregon Tech placed first in construction speed with a time of 9.97 minutes, well ahead of the next team with a time of over 18 minutes. The bridge weighed only 274 pounds, which was second. The team placed first in the construction economy category, a combination of time and weight. The team will continue on to the Student Steel Bridge Competition National Finals where they will compete against 40 other top-placing regional teams.

ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition:

  • Teams are to construct a canoe that (a) can withstand the rigors of competition including the transportation to and from the Conference Competitions; (b) is constructed of materials including concrete, reinforcement, and concrete-encased flotation materials; (c) has been built within the current academic year and constructed and finished by the students; and (d) passes the flotation test. Teams test canoes by paddling in races in groups of 2–4 individuals within the canoe.
  • Scoring of the competition is divided into four equal parts: the final product, a presentation, a paper, and the race results.
  • Oregon Tech results: The team placed tenth overall out of 14 teams. The highlights were fourth and sixth place finishes in the men’s and women’s slalom races. The coed team paddled so hard they pulled the front of the canoe under water triggering a rescue!

Upon returning from the competition, Dr. Riley shared his enthusiasm for the teamwork showcased by Oregon Tech attendees. “This year’s competition was thrilling for our chapter. A trip to nationals for the steel bridge has long been an elusive goal, but this year’s officers made it a specific goal and they achieved it! The teamwork they demonstrated to build so quickly was fantastic. One of the judges approached them after the competition to commend them on their ability to work together and to thoroughly entertain the audience. The canoe team was captained by two underclassmen who did an excellent job taking the torch from some seniors who had participated for years. Others participated in surveying and environmental competitions, ensuring that Oregon Tech was represented in all competitions.”

Oregon Institute of Technology AGC-ASCE Student ChapterOregon Tech student attendees:

  • Garrett Stephens
  • Kurtis Pipkin
  • Cody Faber
  • Kayla deHoop
  • Natasha Karan
  • James Roberts
  • Liam Perry
  • Mathew Dougan
  • Bryce Terhune
  • Daniel Iwicki
  • Michael Hoie
  • Ian Pargeter
  • Noah Nieman
  • Alexander Holland
  • Karah McCulley
  • Amanda Constant
  • Ashley Bucher
  • Bailey Pimentel
  • Caroline Schulze
  • Chad Pietrok
  • Cynthia Roe
  • Justin Echternacht
  • Karoline Herkamp
  • Kassidy Kightlinger
  • Ryan Brooks

To learn more about Oregon Tech’s Civil Engineering program, please visit their website. Oregon Tech is accredited by ABET.

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