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Tech Teams Place in Multiple Events at 2015 ASCE Virginias Conference

From April 9-11, 2015, 20 WVU Tech students and faculty members attended the American Society of Civil Engineers 2015 Virginias Conference at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, where they brought home a number of accolades.

At the conference, WVU Tech teams competed against 14 colleges and universities from West Virginia, Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area in concrete canoe, environmental, transportation, technical paper and mystery quiz competitions.

WVU Tech teams placed third overall in the concrete canoe competition, second in the transportation competition and first in the mystery quiz competition, which featured questions from the national Fundamentals of Engineering Examination.

“ASCE is an international organization, so competing in these events gets the WVU Tech name out there,” said Dr. Horng-Jyh “Tigra” Yang, assistant professor of civil engineering at WVU Tech and advisor to the WVU Tech ASCE chapter.

“We are a small school, but each year we’re among the top-ranked competitors. It encourages our students to put incredible effort into these projects and it reinforces the fact that our students receive a very good education in civil engineering,” he said.

For Zach Carnahan, who served as captain of the concrete canoe team, the conference was an opportunity to show how civil engineering can make the seemingly impossible an everyday reality.

After all, the team built a 19.5-foot, 300 pound canoe out of concrete that competed in five races. The team also placed second in the concrete canoe competition’s oral presentation event and third in the technical paper portion.

“It’s a great experience applying what you’ve learned and seeing how much you’ve actually learned. The conference is a great way to have fun doing what we love to do and to help each other as we learn from other schools that are doing the same things,” he said.

Civil engineering students Haseeb Ahmad and Yusef Alghawazi served on the WVU Tech transportation team, which placed second in a competition where students had to use surveying equipment to find the length of a hypothetical highway curve and determine the safest maximum travel speed cars could travel along that stretch of road.

They said the conference was a practical learning experience and an extension of the opportunities ASCE membership provides.

“ASCE is a very good organization,” said Ahmad. “We’re competitive, but yet it’s a fun and interesting experience. You just have to know how to put in the work and how to have a great time.”