Civil Engineering students excel at Pacific Southwest competition

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
C.S. Papacostas, (808) 956-6538
Professor and Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Roger Babcock, (808) 956-7298
Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Posted: Apr 17, 2014

Members of the UHM Steel Bridge Team in San Diego. Sheldon Milan photo.
Members of the UHM Steel Bridge Team in San Diego. Sheldon Milan photo.

Fifty-four members of the UHM American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter and faculty advisor Roger Babcock led a campus contingent to 16 different events at the ASCE's Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) from April 3-5, 2014, in San Diego, California.

Their greatest success was experienced by the Steel Bridge Team, led by captain Kristy Nakamoto.  The steel bridge competition consists of six categories, and the 2014 UHM team placed in every one: first in lightness, stiffness and efficiency, and second in construction speed, construction economy and display. It placed second overall and earned a spot to compete in the National Student Steel Bridge Competition at the University of Akron in Ohio from May 23-24, 2014.  UHM previously participated in nationals from 2008 to 2011.

The Concrete Canoe Team placed third in the men’s endurance race event, and also won a special Sportsmanship Award.  Its members received a standing ovation at the awards banquet after Nainoa Pihana and Kaniela Fernandez paddled out their canoe (Hoku O Kekai) to save a drowning paddler from another team. The UHM team placed tenth overall in the conference of 18 schools (over 1,000 students total). Only one point separated ninth and tenth places.

The PSWC, the second largest regional competition in the U.S., is probably the most competitive. UHM conference co-chairs were Kenny Kwan and Shawntrelle Sookla. The chapter was led this year by President Michelle Chinen, Vice President Leanne Sakamoto, Treasurer Kristi-Ann Lee, Recording Secretary Keri Ogoshi and Corresponding Secretary Alicia Fung.

The student chapter thanks the 30 companies, College of Engineering, ASCE Hawaiʻi Section and UH Mānoa Student Activity Program Fee Board that, together, made donations/grants totaling over $42,000.  This amount enabled the UHM team to prepare for and participate at the PSWC in San Diego. Students also individually paid to participate.

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