Two competitions, one weekend

56899598_10215776567358904_7607012836476190720_nJillian Leonard, Webmaster


On April 11-13, Saint Martin’s University hosted 18 universities and colleges at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Pacific Northwest Student Conference. This unforgettable experience over the span of three days included the Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge, Environmental and Surveying competitions, along with the Daniel W. Mead Prize contest.

The Steel Bridge competition began late Thursday night and continued all day on Friday with 12 schools competing over multiple categories, including bridge aesthetics, the race to build the bridges, the weight, and the amount of stress and strain the bridge can withstand.

The Concrete Canoe competition began Friday morning and continued through Saturday afternoon. On Friday, the teams were judged on the aesthetics of the canoes and the presentation of their technical reports, and gave oral presentations. The canoe races took place on Saturday, and included five types of races; Women’s Slalom, Men’s Slalom, Women’s 200-meter sprint, Men’s 200-meter sprint, and Co-ed 400-meter sprint. Saint Martin’s was in the top ten schools for all sprint races.

In the Environmental competition, Saint Martin’s received fourth place in their technical paper, “Black to Blue”. The prompt asked the contestants to address a hypothetical situation in which a big earthquake in Washington causes Mount Rainier to erupt, making all water sources undrinkable. Schools must create a filtration system with simple items that can be found around you to help make the water drinkable again.

Taking place at the Harned Hall parking lot Saturday morning was the surveying competition, where Saint Martin’s University won second place. Of the two judges for the surveying competition, George Puziak, co-founder of KPG Revenue Cycle Management, is one of our very own alumni. Graduated in 1964, he was also an instructor at Saint Martin’s University for Land Surveying during the school year and was part of construction on campus.

For the Daniel W. Mead Prize, the prompt was on American Society of Civil Engineer’s most recent Code of Ethics’ Canon, where it requires civil engineers to treat others fairly regardless of their background. It asks students to relate this new canon to unity and sustainability.

Behind the scenes, Hanna Hoffman, a junior civil engineer major and conference chair, acted as one of the organizers behind this year’s successful conference, along with Jill Walsh, Ph.D, an assistant professor of civil engineering and faculty advisor for the student chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers and of the conference.

Hoffman grew up in a small town of Goldendale, Wash. and with a big town personality, she involved herself in various responsibilities throughout her academic career. Currently the vice president of the student chapter of ASCE, she also takes on multiple jobs on campus while attending classes full time.

Walsh is among the first two female faculty members of Saint Martin’s School of Engineering, along with Floraliza Bornasal, Ph.D, both of whom joined Saint Martin’s in the fall of 2015. Walsh balanced not only the heavy responsibility of taking on a conference, but is also a full-time professor and mother. These two women have created an unforgettable and successful experience for so many students that have been a part of this conference. Many look forward to the next time Saint Martin’s University hosts this conference again, likely in 2035.


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