By Jean Gordon Cook
(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Jackson State University American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) student chapter had a very successful presence at the 2011 ASCE Deep South Regional Student Conference held in Starkville, Miss., March 24-26. The conference featured the annual concrete canoe and steel bridge competitions, as well as other competitions related to civil engineering. Fourteen universities representing the Deep South and about 300 civil engineering students participated in this year’s competition.
The JSU team took first place in the Mystery Event Competition, making them the regional champions in the Deep South. In the surveying competition, the JSU competitors earned second place. In the concrete canoe competition, the JSU team captured four awards, including second place in the men’s race and the men and women’s race, and third place in overall canoe aesthetics and the women’s endurance race.
The concrete canoe is the most exciting and visible competition in the conference because the use of concrete to make a canoe is unusual and challenging. Though it may seem impossible to float such a canoe, it can be done with the right mix of technical knowledge, creativity, project management skills and time.
The JSU team’s objective was to successfully construct a 20-foot long canoe with a structural mix lighter than water and that accounts for sustainability, workability, and structural integrity to withstand the rigors of the competition. The competition consisted of four parts including a design paper, an oral presentation, an evaluation of overall aesthetics and a series of races to measure performance on water. The JSU concrete canoe, named ITASCA, won in four categories.
In the men’s sprint event, Donald Hendon and Samuel Rhoads raced and finished second. In the women’s endurance race, Naomi Brigetty, Adrienne Spencer and Sarai Price raced and finished third. In the co-ed sprint event, Donald Hendon, Samuel Rhoads, Naomi Brigetty and Sarai Price finished second. Other student members including Yulian Kebede, Fatimata Diop, Charles McKenzie, Philip Barnes, Mufaweli Lewanika, Allen Pugh, Ennis Crosby, Andrew Hooker and Chris Herron worked on the actual design and construction. Because of their hard work and dedication, ITASCA secured the third position in the overall aesthetics among the 14 contestant universities.
The team credits their winning to the leadership of Abenezer Nida, a senior student in the JSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the advisement of Himangshu S. Das, assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.
“This was a very important achievement since this was only the second time for JSU to participate in the competition,” said Farshad Amini, professor and chair of the JSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.