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Civil engineering students land first national placement at industry competition

Civil students at the ASCE National Championships in Provo, Utah.
Student team members (left to right): Keleigh Dockens, junior; Tori Abbott, team captain, junior; Lucas Arsenith, senior; Chiara Brancacio, College of Engineering ambassador, sophomore; Kaleb Gabriel, senior; Marcos Bermudez, freshman; JP Edwards, freshman; Brian Bowyer, senior; and Dalton Bjorum, junior.

The Boise State American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chapter made its first appearance at the 2024 ASCE Civil Engineering Student Championships a successful one. Seven undergraduate students from the College of Engineering traveled to Provo, Utah, finishing third in the nation with multiple category awards.

The team’s Waterfront Revitalization Project ranked behind Georgia Institute of Technology and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, but ahead of the country’s top-ranked teams like the University of California, Berkeley, University of Texas, Austin, Auburn University and Brigham Young University.

“I’m so happy and grateful that all the late nights, countless hours and support paid off. Competing at nationals was an amazing experience,” said team captain Tori Abbott. “While school teaches us a lot, this project showed us how civil engineering techniques are applied in the real world. We hope our success inspires other civil engineering students to join this challenging competition.”

On top of their national placement, the Boise State team also secured two of the three category awards for Best Waterfront and Best Sustainability Features as voted on by fellow competing students, faculty, judges and industry professionals.

The ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition was one of three competitions comprising the national competition in Provo in June. The competition challenges students to develop a stronger understanding of sustainability and learn to incorporate sustainable solutions into everyday design challenges engineers face in the field.

The team’s project included a technical design proposal, and digital and print visuals presented to industry professionals. The proposed project features local-based city revitalization designs tied to key aspects of the Boise community.

“Competing at the national level and representing Boise State with my teammates was one of my greatest academic experiences at Boise State University,” said Lucas Arsenith, a senior majoring in civil engineering. “Our team spent hundreds of hours preparing and practicing for this competition and we could not have finished as one of the top schools in the country without the continuous support of our families, peers, faculty members, graduate students and local Treasure Valley industry leaders.”

This year’s winning team was supported by campus and industry partners alongside faculty from the Department of Civil Engineering including Bhaskar Chittoori, Sondra Miller, Kevin Roche and Natalie Hull. The teams were coached and led by chapter advisors Briceland McLaughlin and Nick Hudyma, Ph.D. The team was assisted in preparation by graduate students Jason Mick and Hamidreza Ahadiyan for their award-winning design. 

The Sustainable Solutions team was the only Boise State team to move on to the national competition after competing in the regional competition in April at Utah State University. The student chapter secured 15 top-three placements in Concrete Bowling Ball, Environmental Design and Sustainable Solutions, Technical Paper, Timber-Strong and Steel Bridge.