All posts by Karina Schulz

Concrete Canoe October 2015 Update

ASCE’s Concrete Canoe design is off to a great start! We are excited about all the new members that have joined and consistently come to our meetings! Each week we hold sub team meetings for structures, aesthetics, mix design and construction in addition to our paddling practices every Sunday.

This year there have been some major changes in the rules for the competition, as a result altering our approach to the canoe design. The most significant change is that we are no longer able to use any type of paint or stains on the canoe, therefore we must pigment the concrete itself in order to create the design. In the past couple of weeks, aesthetics has finalized the theme for this year’s concrete canoe and presentation display, which we are excited to announce as DiSCo.

After determining the preliminary design for the actual canoe, the team has begun to research into different potential pigments we can use to achieve the look we want. Structures has been a combination of an introduction to statics for the younger members who have not been exposed to those concepts yet, as well as solving for the moment and shear for various required loading cases.

The mix design sub team started off by going over a comprehensive review of the components of a concrete mix followed by diving into making mixes every week. We have come closer to deciding the final mixes we plan on using for the different structural layers and now we are focusing on the optimal way to integrate the pigment into the mix. Additionally, we are testing different techniques to depict the desired graphics on the canoe, so the mix design and construction sub-teams have been working on producing these elements and testing their construction and application methods. 

Even with the new challenges the team is faced with this year, we are confident that we will once again produce a successful concrete canoe and have fun while doing it!

New CEE Undergraduate Student Orientation

This past weekend marked the first “New Student CEE Orientation”, hosted by ASCE in conjunction with other CEE student organizations and the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The goal was to give incoming freshmen and transfer students an idea of the opportunities that civil engineering provides both as a student and after graduation. As an organization, we have found that students become more involved in their sophomore and junior years once they begin to take more CEE-oriented classes. We encourage freshmen to participate in any civil or environmental organizations right from the start as it provides students with more exposure to CEE as an industry as well as a network of other like-minded individuals.

To our delight, the event proved to be a success! There was an attendance of approximately 15 new students, which was quite a good turn out considering the small size of the department. The event kicked off with an introduction to the department by the department chair, Dr. Lucio Soibelman. He gave a warm welcome to all of the new students and an interesting overview of the faculty and their research.

Alumni panel shares their experiences with new students.
Alumni panel shares their experiences with new students.

Next up was an alumni panel comprised of four current professionals who all studied at USC as undergraduates and some as graduate students as well. There were a good variety of the various disciplines of CEE represented on the panel, with structural design, building enclosure systems, construction, and water services included. The alumni had much insight to share with the participants – both new students and upperclassmen facilitators! They described their experiences as undergraduate students, their involvements, and life working as an industry professional. Notably, every panelist strongly recommended getting involved in student organizations as early as possible, and every panelist eventually pursued a Master’s degree. It was especially valuable hearing about what they specifically do within their disciplines.

New students and upperclassmen eat lunch and get to know each other in E-Quad.
New students and upperclassmen eat lunch and get to know each other in E-Quad.

The alumni panel was followed by a much appreciated lunch break, during which all of the students, both old and new, mingled while eating a delicious lunch cooked by our very own Doc! After lunch, some of the ASCE upperclassmen gave brief presentations about their respective emphases including overviews of Building Science, Environmental, and Structural. The event concluded with pitches from all of the CEE organizations including ASCE, Chi Epsilon, ITE, EERI, and CMAA.

EERI explains their competition and encourages students to join.
EERI explains their competition and encourages students to join.

We really enjoyed putting on such a successful event, and we have lots of ideas for hosting something similar together for next year!