The Catholic University of America

April 13, 2010

Catholic University Hosts Student Civil Engineering Conference

  CUA students Megan Dever (left), Alexandra Wildes and Margaret Keller paddle on Lake Fairfax in their concrete canoe.

Sinking feelings aside, Washington-area student engineers successfully competed in concrete canoe races as part of a three-day American Society of Civil Engineers Virginia Conference, hosted last weekend by Catholic University’s student chapter.

The CUA team placed fourth in the April 9 concrete canoe competition at Lake Fairfax in Reston, Va. Their maroon canoe, christened “Divine Dreadnought,” weighed 290 pounds and held up to four students. The students designed and built the canoe at the concrete lab on campus.

Each year, about 250 civil engineering students from Washington-area universities convene for an ASCE conference. Events last weekend also included a surveying competition and concrete bowling, and students tested their speaking abilities with an oral competition. In a steel bridge competition, CUA won third place overall among nine teams.

The conference concluded with an awards dinner at the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center Great Room.

“Our CUA student teams showed a strong performance in the 2010 concrete canoe and steel bridge competitions,” says Gunnar Lucko, faculty adviser of the ASCE student chapter and assistant professor of civil engineering. “The steel bridge is only in its second season and has quickly grown to be a top contender. The tremendous effort and care that our civil engineering chapter put into organizing really paid off and gave our guests an impressive three-day event.”

In addition to CUA, other participants were Bluefield State College, Fairmont State University, George Mason University, George Washington University, Howard University, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Polytechnic University, West Virginia University, West Virginia Institute of Technology and the University of the District of Columbia.

“CUA was proud to host this year’s ASCE regional student conference. Our students, Chris Hudson and Stephen Miller, and their team did a great job of organizing the event. Where else can you go to see canoes made of concrete race one another?” says Binh Tran, assistant dean of CUA’s School of Engineering.

Established as a school at Catholic University in 1930, engineering offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in biomedical, civil, electrical, mechanical engineering and computer science, as well as a master's degree in engineering management. The school has more than 6,000 alumni serving in professional roles such as university president and dean, company CEO and president, government agency head and researcher of national stature.

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