USC ASCE Newsletter for April 14, 2016

Hi ,

We are proud to announce that USC placed 3rd in the PSWC 2016 conference in Long Beach. Out Technical Paper, Jeopardy and Mystery Event placed 1st, and the Environmental design team placed 2nd. Please refer to the blog post below for more information on USC's achievement in PSWC 2016.

Come celebrate the End-of-Year Meeting with us on Thursday April 28th at 6PM in ZHS 163. We are expecting all ASCE members to be there. We will be announcing our chapters awards. As usual there will be Food, Fun and Friendship.

Join the Environmental Design team for their end-of-the-year potluck celebration in KAP 209 at 3 pm.

The USC ASCE Annual report is completed. You can take a look at what we have done during the past year. Link available below.

If you are interested in a position on the E-Board next year, you can start attending the E-Board meetings this semester to get more familiar with the positions. See below for more information.


Saina Vosoghi & Branden Currey
Co-Membership Chairs,


End of Year Meeting

When: Thursday April 28th, @ 6 PM

Where: ZHS 163

Don't miss USC ASCE's End of Year Meeting. Come celebrate our success in PSWC 2016 conference. We will be having a recap of PSWC, distributing our annual internal awards for our valuable members who dedicated to the club, and so much more. There will be Food, Fun, and Friendship as always. 


USC ASCE E-Board Meetings

Every Wednesday at 8AM, KAP 209
E-Board meetings are open to all USC ASCE members for the spring semester. Join us if you're interested in helping out or running for an elected position for next year. Breakfast is provided!

PSWC 2016 Results

PSWC 2016 Results

Once again, USC ASCE has done the unthinkable. For the third straight year, USC placed 3rd overall in the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC) of ASCE.

The overall conference score is a composite of all 18 events held at PSWC. With 18 schools competing, placing overall requires participation and success in every event, and each individual competition contributes to the overall success of the team. Our broad efforts to compete against much larger teams in each and every event paid off this year despite only placing top-three in a few events.

This year's success was led by first place finishes in Technical Paper, Mystery Event, and Quiz/Jeopardy, as well as 2nd place in Environmental. With around 40 student attendees, USC's team was among the smallest at PSWC 2016, where 1300 attendees set a record for attendance at any ASCE event. Yet the strength of our members across all disciplines enabled an historic result from the competition.

When USC placed 3rd overall at PSWC 2014, most of us didn't even know about the overall conference award. Historical research found that we had previously placed 3rd overall in 1994. But repeating the 3rd place finish in 2015 and now three-peating it is an unprecedented measure of our chapter's growth and continued strength as a competitor at PSWC. As I said last year, there is no doubt that USC ASCE is now a dominant force in the ASCE Pacific Southwest Conference. Here's a breakdown of each team's contributions to this year's competition.

Technical Paper

Environmental Design Team Co-captain Justine Lee authored our 2016 Technical Paper submission, on the topic of international codes and standards for engineering projects. In addition to writing an outstanding essay, Justine delivered a phenomenal presentation at PSWC, responding to questions with detailed answers that further supported her strategic approach to reconciling global engineering codes and standards. Justine brought USC our second-straight 1st place finish in tech paper, which was also submitted to the national competition. Check out her winning paper here:

Environmental Design Team 

Working in the lab to test a variety of approaches to this year's water contaminant filtering problem, our team was joined by several graduate students who contributed their technical expertise. After countless hours of hard work, the team placed 2nd overall, our best result since winning 1st in 2013.

Concrete Canoe

This year's concrete canoe worked tirelessly to develop a new lightweight composite slab assembly to reduce the weight of the canoe and improve its paddling performance, while simultaneously developing a bright and colorful design that embraced the use of integrally-colored concrete. For the first time, our team felt confident that the canoe was built precisely to the engineered specifications developed during the design phase. Unfortunately, our investigations failed to consider a failure mode in punching shear, which occurred in the concrete during the races, requiring the use of tape and a sizable point deduction. Despite this, we had our strongest race performance yet placing 6th in both endurance events, 7th in coed sprint, 8th in men's sprint, and 10th in women's sprint. Our design paper placed 5th despite a deduction on a technicality. Overall canoe placed 8th out of 17 universities this year, but our team is confident that our process and final result are the best in our recent history.

Steel Bridge 

The Steel Bridge team designed an extremely innovative lightweight bridge this year, even while building a new team that was primarily composed of new members. As can often happen with the steel bridge competition, this year's bridge was disqualified for a minor detail - exceeding the maximum allowed width at the top of the upper truss due to construction variances. However, the bridge continued our development of increasingly more innovative designs and the team hopes to continue this success next year.


The Geowall competition included a new component this year - wood detailing to build a load frame that could be disassembled into small pieces. Our team build a clever frame with slotted wood peg connections, but unfortunately the frame failed when loaded. However, the team's reinforced paper wall held the weight of the fully-loaded box, as well as hundreds of pounds of additional weight loaded vertically above it. Next year's team is already planning new ideas to ensure an even more successful result next year.

Complete Scores

• Concrete Canoe: 8th

• Steel Bridge: DQ

• Tech Paper: 1st

• Geowall: Participated

• Environmental: 2nd

• Surveying: 5th

• Impromptu: Participated

• Mystery: 1st

• Jeopardy: 1st

• Basketball: T5th

• Volleyball: Participated

• Frisbee: Participated

• Tug of War: Paticipated

• Kan Jam: Participated

• Scavenger Hunt: 8th

• Concrete Bowling: Participated

• Transportation: Participated

• Community Service (Coin Drive): T1st (Participated)

The complete point breakdown can be found here (archived for historical purposes due to past loss of records from host schools). With another successful year behind us, we're already looking forward to PSWC 2017 hosted by UC Irvine! 

Continue reading on our blog ;

2015 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report

Our 2015 annual report is now available. We prepare two annual reports - one for ASCE in slide form and one for USC Viterbi in document form. Both are available here:

• USC ASCE Viterbi Annual Report 2015-16 (Document) 2015

• USC ASCE Annual Report (Slides)

Continue reading on our blog.


Other Opportunities

ITS America 2016 San Jose - Student Essay Competition Sponsored by Southwest Research Institute

$1,000 Cash Prize, Entry Deadline: Friday May 6
The ITS America 2016 San Jose Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Student Essay Competition will be sponsored again this year by Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®). The annual prize, to be awarded at ITS America 2016 San Jose on Sunday, June 12 during the ITS America Board of Directors meeting, encourages postsecondary students to take a leadership role in advancing transportation technology by sharing their own, unique concepts and ideas, as expressed via an original , self-authored 2,000-word essay. The contest is aimed at undergraduate and graduate-level students studying transportation, engineering, and public policy.
Students’ essays are to focus on either of these topics:
- “How do you envision the city of the future will address transportation through the use of new innovative technologies? (10-year horizon)”
- “How can existing and future ITS deployments benefit from the existence of Big Data and advancements in analytics?”
The winning student will receive a $1,000 cash prize, complimentary registration to the ITS America 2016 San Jose event, and expenses-paid air travel and hotel accommodations for the venue. Selection of the winning essay is based on the thought-provoking insights expressed about the future of the intelligent transportation industry. To be eligible, students must be postsecondary graduate or undergraduate level enrolled full-time at an accredited college or university. Contestants’ essays must be a Microsoft Word attachment formatted with one inch margins, single-spacing, and 12 point font submitted no later than May 6, 2016.
The 2015 winning essays highlighted vehicle platooning, Bluetooth technology applied to roadways, and cooperative adaptive cruise control. Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) Automation and Data Systems provides engineering services in the definition, development, and maintenance of complex systems and equipments for government and industry. ITS America 2016 San Jose is a new show representing this transformative moment in intelligent transportation. Innovators + Implementers. Tech + Transportation. It’s the Incubator of Next Generation ITS.
Integrated Mobility. Transportation Redefined.


Asian American Architects/Engineers Student and Young Professional Networking Event

“Enhancing Your Interviewing and Networking Skills”
Friday, April 22nd, 2016,  6 – 9 PM
As a student or recent graduate, have you ever wondered, “What is it like to work at this or that Firm”?, or “What do entry-level architects and engineers make?”  To get answers, come to our Student and Recent Grad Member Networking Event!  Young professionals and leaders in the AEC industry will be on hand to answer these and other burning questions you may have.  We'll also be facilitating communication exercises to help you be more effective in interviews and meetings.  This event is FREE for student and recent graduate members of AAa/e.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make contacts and get your foot in the door!  Food and drinks will be served. Non-members are also welcome, we simply require an on-site AAa/e Student/Recent Grad Membership of only $8.  Hosted by Gensler, DTLA, 500 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA  90017.  Please RSVP by  April 18, 2016 to


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