U.Va. Students Shine at Regional Civil Engineering Conference

June 11, 2008 — A team of University of Virginia engineering students earned their Cavalier pride at the 2008 American Society of Civil Engineers Student Virginias Conference, held April 17-19 in Summersville, W.Va. The conference provides civil engineering students with a chance to apply their skills while competing against each other.

Competing with teams from George Washington University, Howard University, Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, among others, U.Va. Engineering School's team of 25 students returned to Charlottesville laden with awards. In addition to first-place wins in the "Concrete Frisbee" and "Can-do Structure" competitions, the team placed second in the "Problem Solving" and "Concrete Canoe" competitions and third in "Engineering Jeopardy."

The team also did well when it came to research and oral presentations. Fourth-year student Bailey Fillmore won the Marr Technical Paper Competition with her submission, "An Evaluation of Lightweight High-Performance Concrete Durability in the Mattaponi and Pamunkey River Bridges." Additionally, third-year student James Calabrese placed third in the "Hardy Cross" competition — a competition that requires an oral presentation on a topic of the student's choice. Calabrese spoke about the present and future role of civil engineering's role in public policy.

"The great performance of our students in such diverse categories demonstrates the breadth of their knowledge," said Michael Demetsky, professor and chairman of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The conference provides civil engineering students from diverse areas and institutions with the opportunity to experience real-world problem solving in a fun and competitive environment.

"This conference provides a great way for our students to apply their technical knowledge to creative applications and solutions," said Joanna Curran, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and faculty adviser for U.Va.'s student ASCE chapter. "They represented our department, the school and the University very well. I was very proud of them."

Other reasons for her pride? "Our team had the most women at the conference," she said. Laughing, she adds, "And, by the way, we won the spirit competition. I think the 'Good Ol' Song' was sung about six times!"

The Virginias Conference is an annual event bringing together civil engineering and civil engineering technology programs from West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Each year, approximately 250 students participate.

— By Andrea Arco

About the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

Founded in 1836, the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science combines research and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Within the undergraduate programs, courses in engineering, ethics, mathematics, the sciences and the humanities are available to build a strong foundation for careers in engineering and other professions. Its abundant research opportunities complement the curriculum and educate young men and women to become thoughtful leaders in technology and society. At the graduate level, the Engineering School collaborates with the University’s highly ranked medical and business schools on interdisciplinary research projects and entrepreneurial initiatives. With a distinguished faculty and a student body of 2,000 undergraduates and 650 graduate students, the Engineering School offers an array of engineering disciplines, including cutting-edge research programs in computer and information science and engineering, bioengineering and nanotechnology.