For the 17th consecutive year, Hudson Valley entered teams into the ASCE conference's two major competitions, where students conceptualize, design and construct a steel bridge model and concrete canoe over the course of the school year. Each college team must adhere to strict building and materials guidelines and specifications set forth by the ASCE.
Once completed, the students transported their entries to the regional conference and were judged on a point system based on academic and practical standards, while competing against a number of various regional colleges such as University at Buffalo, SUNY Canton, Clarkson, Cornell, SUNY Institute of Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, West Point and Ecole de technologie superieure (Montreal, Quebec).
"The students worked very hard on both projects and we are very proud of all that they accomplished," said Christine LaPlante, department chair of Hudson Valley Community College's Civil Engineering Technology program. "This type of project is a great way for the students to finish their coursework in our program and we look forward to competing every year."
The ASCE competitions are designed to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to apply engineering principles acquired in the classroom and develop team and project management skills that the students will need in their careers.
"The students benefit tremendously from a project like this where they see a project through from start to finish," said LaPlante. "They went from ‘napkin' sketches, to design drawings, to a final product that they constructed. They worked in teams and had to coordinate their work with their classmates to ensure that all the pieces came together in the end."
Teams were judged based on standards such as efficiency and stiffness in the steel bridge competition and racing and aesthetics in the concrete canoe competition. Both competitions also require students to complete a presentation and report describing and analyzing their construction process.
LaPlante also mentioned that despite a seventh place overall finish in the concrete canoe competition, she was really proud that the Hudson Valley team distinguished themselves as being "the only school that had a canoe that didn't crack or break during the competition."
The annual event is one of 18 ASCE regional student conferences held nationally each spring, with competition winners from each region advancing to the national competition in June for a chance to win academic scholarships for their college's civil engineering program. Hudson Valley has been participating in the steel bridge competition since 1993 and the concrete canoe competition since 1980.
Hudson Valley students participating in the 2009 regional ASCE conference were steel bridge captain John Ryan, concrete canoe captain Michael Tralongo, Yazmin Avalos, Alexander Berlin, Devon Deluke, Greg Fane, Patti Franczak, Andrew Fuller, Jesse Hoffay, Cody Jewett, Danielle Liddle, Rebekka Manchuck, Daniel McNally, Patrick Pratico, Ashley Steel, Mike Streed, Craig Sweet, Laura Travison and Andrew Tymeson.
This year's trip was sponsored by Hudson Valley's Student Activities office, the School of Engineering and Industrial Technology and STS Steel, a Schenectady-based steel fabrication company.
Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 65,000 alumni.