CULLEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

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UH Concrete Canoe Team Headed to Nationals

By: 

Toby Weber
The UH student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) won the regional concrete canoe competition in April, earning them a spot in the upcoming national competition June 14 in Seattle, Wash. Photo compliments of ASCE student chapter.
The UH student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) won the regional concrete canoe competition in April, earning them a spot in the upcoming national competition June 14 in Seattle, Wash. Photo compliments of ASCE student chapter.

A team of undergraduate students from the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering took first place in the Texas/Mexico regional Concrete Canoe Competition, giving them the right to represent the area at the national competition on June 14 in Seattle, Wash.

The annual contest, which is hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the University of Washington, and sponsored by national corporations challenges students from colleges and universities across the country to build a canoe constructed of concrete. Over the course of an academic year, the students design, test and construct a canoe devised of a concrete mixture that they believe offers them the best combination of low weight and high strength. During the competition, teams are judged based on a design paper, oral presentation on their canoe, various canoe races, and the “final product” (including aesthetics and finish).

The UH team is led by senior Wade Barnes and recent graduate Larissa da Costa. The team is composed primarily of civil engineering students. According to Barnes, however, about 50 students from multiple disciplines contributed to the yearlong effort. “We had students from mechanical engineering, a chemical engineer, technology students, some from fine arts who helped us coordinate paint schemes for the team logos, and helped finalized the presentation board for the canoe, and some from drama who helped us prepare for our oral presentation.”

In the regional competition, which was held in April in Tyler, Texas, the team took first place in the design oral presentation, second in final product category, third in the women’s sprint, second in the women’s long-distance race, first in the men’s long-distance race and second in the co-ed sprint.

Those results put the team from the Cullen College in first place among the nine competitors in the region. The team will compete in the national from June 14 through June 16 in Seattle.

In addition, the UH student chapter of ASCE was recognized with the 2007 ASCE Region 6 Governor's Award and the 2007 Most Improved Award. Both awards are based each chapter's activities in support of the ASCE educational, service and engineering mission. The Governor's award is given to the best student chapter in each region. UH earned the Most Improved chapter award by moving from the lower to the upper third of all schools in the country.

“We are very proud of our student chapter for earning such high recognition”, said Theodore Cleveland, ASCE student chapter faculty advisor and UH associate professor of environmental engineering.

"I am particularly proud that the University of Houston ASCE Student Chapter and student officers under the leadership of Dr. Cleveland has improved their annual report so much to win this prestigious Governor's Award!" said Jerry Rogers, associate professor of civil engineering and former national vice president of ASCE (2001-2003).

The student chapter extended a special thanks to the college’s alumni association and Houston-area alumni, the faculty and staff of the Department of Civil Engineering, and especially the Houston branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers for their support of the project.

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