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ASCE Conference Goes Virtual, Vols Win Big

Several students sit in a large classroom while participating in the virtual ASCE conference.

Students participated in the ASCE conference virtually this year .

The annual American Society for Civil Engineering (ASCE) Southeast Student Conference was virtually hosted by Vanderbilt University and Lipscomb University this year, and although there were some differences, students from CEE still excelled. The conference took place March 25–27, where the theme was “Engineering for a New Frontier.”

The University of Tennessee placed ninth overall out of twenty-one teams and scored one win and one third-place finish in competitions.

“Participating virtually offered the opportunity for the team to engage in the conference while simultaneously juggling regular course obligations,” said CEE Senior Lecturer Jennifer Retherford, who is the ASCE faculty advisor. “Unlike the break from class, this was a really challenging encounter and the teams performed considerably well even in such a difficult experience.”

Coming in first place was “Risky Business,” which included teammates Andrew Tsay, Brian Hitch, and Macayla Dwyer. The team participated in an online escape room which consisted of statistics questions. Each question had to be answered correctly in order to move to the next level.

Andrew Tsay, Macayla Dwyer, and Brian Hitch hold up one finger after winning first place.

Left to right: Andrew Tsay, Macayla Dwyer, and Brian Hitch celebrate first place in their competition.

CEE students also snagged up a the third place finish for “Plan Reading,” which included teammates Savannah Jobkar, Sharon Smith, and Erin Van Hoozier. This team read plan drawings and answered questions related to what was on those drawings.

The other teams included the following:

  • Concrete Canoe – Megan Hobbs, Zachary Nieves, Anthony Condra, Hunter Davis, and Van Hoozier created a plan for a concrete canoe.
  • Sustain Conference – Claudia Bible and Matthew Tolson discussed how to make the overall conference more sustainable.
  • New Town Road – Nicholas Simmons, Jeremiah Pham, Hobbs, and Dwyer completed a series of transportation related tasks.
  • Can Rodeo –Mackenzie Simmons and Dwyer built a can tower and donated all 250 cans to Smokey’s Pantry.
  • Blue Sky Innovation – Kami Reid and Jace Sebring where the duo created a future city with ideas of high tech, construction, advanced materials, and sustainability.
  • Surveying – Natalie Hester, Hunter Davis, and Anthony Condra completed a multitude of surveying tasks.
  • Dueling Words – Tsay wrote a paper on professional ethics related to COVID-19.

While in previous years the teams would work on a canoe together, this year was quite different. Instead, the canoe from last year’s competition was used with a few changes. Additionally, the competition is usually judged out of 100 points, however, this year it was only judged out of ninety because it did not include the onsite building category.

Dwyer, a junior, described her time at the conference as an amazing experience.

“I was able to learn about different disciplines of civil engineering but in a fun way,” she said. “This year was different from any other since the conference was completely virtual. We did miss out on traveling and meeting new people, but we still had the chance to participate and we made the best of it.”