Engineering Students Compete at the ASCE Metro Regional Conference

From April 26-28, the Jaspers participated in the steel bridge-building and concrete canoe competitions

Members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Manhattan College chapter, bridged gaps and built connections at the ASCE Metropolitan Regional Conference, from April 26-28.

The weekend’s events featured steel bridge-building and concrete canoe competitions, hosted by Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU), respectively.

The competitions are an opportunity for students to apply concepts they learn in the classroom. While testing their structural engineering skills — from design to construction — they also practice a variety of real-world skills that are crucial to future professional success, including organizational, project management, and verbal and written communication skills.

Building the Best

On April 27, several regional teams of civil engineering students, all sporting their corresponding college colors, collected in the NYU-Poly quad, carting 3'0" x 6" x 4" boxes of precious cargo — steel bridges designed to support 2,500 lbs. and to be constructed in less than 45 minutes.

Each year the bridge-building competition issues fresh design requirements, challenging ASCE students to oversee an entire project from concept to completion. This was Manhattan College’s third year at the steel bridge-building competition.

Clocking a construction time of 24 minutes — significantly less than their practice time — this year’s team was disqualified when the judges found a few measurements that didn’t quite meet this year’s specifications. The Jaspers came in third overall in 2011 and won the first prize in the stiffness category in 2012. 

“Our students did a great job during the construction part,” said faculty adviser Anirban De, Ph.D., associate professor and chairman of civil and environmental engineering. “We are hoping that by attending these competitions, our students will get a chance to interact with teams from other colleges and learn ways to improve their own performance.”

ASCE student members reconvened at FDU in Teaneck, N.J., on April 28 for the concrete canoe competition. It was the second time the Jaspers competed in the event in more than 20 years.

Although Manhattan’s craft, the Jasper Hurricane, cracked during transportation, the team was able to repair the damage in time to take seventh place overall.

“I think it was a big success,” says Michael Maloney ’14, who served as junior project manager for the team. “It’s a hard competition and last year Manhattan’s chapter started from scratch. We’re hoping to continue improving in the years to come.”

Jaspers Joining Jaspers

Although the competition was fierce, the Jasper connection transcended all boundaries. In fact, shortly after Anthony Cioffi ’81, ’88, professor and chair of the Civil Engineering & Construction Management Technology program at New York City College of Technology/CUNY (City Tech), saw his students compete, he pulled on a Manhattan College polo shirt in proud support.

“I'm wearing a lot of different hats — or shirts — today,” laughed Cioffi, a past president of the ASCE Met Section and current ASCE Region 1 governor. Quickly pointing to several former students in the crowd who transferred their associate's credits en route to a Manhattan bachelor's degree, he said, “We're all a part of a family here.”

ASCE is a great mechanism for allowing students to continue their professional growth and development.

Another proud Manhattan alumna, Gerarda M. Shields ’03, ’04, associate professor of the Civil Engineering & Construction Management Technology program at City Tech and secretary of the ASCE Met Section, could be heard cheering for the Jaspers. She, like Cioffi, has been an ASCE member since she was a student.

“ASCE is a great mechanism for allowing students to continue their professional growth and development,” Shields said. “For many students, this is how they get their jobs — networking. Both City Tech and Manhattan emphasize that network because many of our students are from New York City, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and many stay local. We know each other when we get out into the field.”