USC ASCE Newsletter for April 8, 2014

Hi ,

We did it! PSWC 2014 went better than we ever could have expected, with USC ASCE picking up many awards including 3rd place in the conference overall out of 18 schools. This week's newsletter is dedicated to a recap of PSWC results. Look out for an email later this week calling for Executive Board nominations for next year, and also look out for a couple more events in the remainder of the semester.

Nick Halsey
Membership Chair, USC ASCE

PSWC 2014 Results Summary

Here's the event placement breakdown that led to our 3rd-place overall finish. All event ranks are out of 18 participating universities.

  • Concrete Canoe - 6th
  • Steel Bridge - 3rd
  • Technical Paper - 5th
  • Geotechnical / Geowall  - Participated
  • Environmental - 5th
  • Surveying - 7th
  • Impromptu & Mystery - Participated
  • Family Feud Quiz - T5th
  • Basketball - T5th
  • Volleyball - Participated
  • Ultimate Frisbee - T5th
  • Tug of War - Participated
  • Kan Jam (2 teams) - T5th, Participated
  • Scavenger Hunt - 1st
  • Concrete Bowling - Participated

PSWC 2014 Complete Results

PSWC 2014 Event Point Distribution

PSWC 2014 Results Explained

I'll start off by putting this into perspective and context. Historically, USC ASCE typically places top-three in one or two events at PSWC. Our 18-school conference, combined with perennial powerhouses in the concrete canoe competition, make our conference one of the most competitive of the 15 in the country.

Last year, our only victory, albeit significant, was our first-place environmental win. This year, going into the awards banquet we didn't expect much, but were proud of our collective effort.

We started out with a 1st place victory in the Scavenger Hunt competition. Despite having a team less than half the size of many other schools, our focus and determination led us to win one of the most fun events, finding cool spots and things around SDSU's campus and San Diego.

Our Steel Bridge team ended their competition with a disqualification in the lateral load test, preventing them from moving on to the much-anticipated load test. So we were shocked, and thrilled, when they went on to win three awards.

Steel Bridge won 3rd place in speed, completing the construction of their bridge in roughly 18 minutes. They also won 3rd in bridge lightness, thanks to their new structural design that utilized better steel. Despite the disqualification, our team placed 3rd overall, earning a national qualification!

Last year, our Concrete Canoe team had their first canoe to successfully survive every race in three years, but placed 14th overall. Despite significant deductions in the oral presentation and final product categories due to technicalities, we placed 6th overall and won 3rd in design paper!

Our paddling team also did well, placing 7th overall. Highlights included our women's slalom team placing sixth, our 4-person co-ed team winning their heat, and our men's sprint team winning the small final by less than a second to place 6th, after missing the big final qualification by only a second.

Considering where we were just a year ago, and the fact that most of this year's USC ASCE PSWC team were first-time attendees, all of these results are spectacular. But as we were celebrating our successes, we won an award that we never expected: 3rd place overall for the entire conference!

The overall conference rank is determined by summing all of the weighted points earned for each event, including canoe and bridge, the smaller design teams, and the sports tournaments. To win, a school must be well-rounded, participate in every event, and fight to win individual games, even if they don't win entire sports tournaments. USC ASCE has not placed this high in the overall conference rank since 1994. Our 3rd place finish would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our entire team.

This year, we proved that just because we have a smaller department, fewer resources, and less time than other schools doesn't mean that we can't be successful. Let's celebrate our victories, analyze our weaknesses, and come back next year ready to take 1st!

Career Opportunities

URS Corporation is a leading provider of engineering, construction, and technical services for public agencies and private sector companies around the world. The Water Resources Department in Oakland is hiring an intern for the summer. Our team is unique – industry focused instead of segregated by discipline. The department consists of geotechnical, structural, pipeline, civil, and environmental engineers who work closely to plan, design, and execute the largest water projects in California.

The job page on the website says graduate student, but we would also consider someone going into their senior year of undergrad. If anyone has questions about URS and what we do, contact Karl Tingwald at

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