While many UCF students spent spring break at the beach, a group of more than 50 civil engineering students participated in a regional event that brought much recognition to their work and to the university.

More than 650 students from 19 universities, including the University of Florida, Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University, attended the 2024 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Southeast Student Symposium. This annual conference, which was hosted on UCF’s main campus this year, is designed to enhance the undergraduate experience for civil engineering students in the southeastern states and Puerto Rico.

Knights took home a total of 12 awards across several competitions that highlight various aspects of the civil engineering profession.

“Winning these awards is a testament to the hard work and dedication our members put beyond their classes and formal education,” says Alexandra Roche, the president of the UCF ASCE student chapter. “Many of our competition captains have been actively involved in our club and the symposium for all four years of their education. They have worked tirelessly this year and in past years to improve our symposium placement in individual competitions as well as the overall placement. These awards showcase the club’s commitment, to enhance our members’ education and professional development.”

UCF civil engineering students took second place in the Steel Bridge Competition at the 2024 ASCE Southeast Student Symposium.

The UCF ASCE chapter won first place in the Jacobs Solutioneering Competition, which challenged students to come up with a disaster relief plan and mitigation strategy for a fictional Florida coastal city with aging infrastructure. Their detailed evacuation plan and long-term strategy of incorporating nature-based infrastructure with water retention and purification features, won over the judges.

The team also placed first in the GeoWall Competition for their mechanically stabilized model of Earth, and they took first in the proposal and presentation categories in the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition, which calls for students to design, build a race their own concrete canoes.

UCF students pose with their concrete canoe on race day at Bill Fredrick Park.

A number of second- and third-place awards went to the team, which placed third overall out of 18 competing teams. Assistant Professor Jiannen Chen, the senior faculty advisor for the UCF ASCE student chapter, says the team put in a lot of effort over the past academic year to earn these honors.

“During the fall semester, we introduce members to the competitions and the design stages of each competition,” Chen says. “The spring semester leading up to the annual symposium consists of constructing and practicing for the competitions. The participants and competition captains spend at least three hours a week throughout the year and, at times, full eight- to 10-hour days to ensure the chapter’s success throughout the competitions.”

The team was able to compete on their home turf this year as the event activities were located in the engineering and business administration buildings on the UCF main campus for the first two days. UCF is set to host again in 2030. Below is the full list of UCF student awards:

First Place

  • Jacobs Solutioneering Competition
  • GeoWall Competition
  • Concrete Canoe Competition: Proposal category
  • Concrete Canoe Competition: Presentation category

Second Place

  • Southeast Design-Build Challenge
  • American Institute of Steel Construction/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition: Cost Estimate category

Third Place

  • Concrete Canoe Competition: Overall
  • American Institute of Steel Construction/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition: Economy category
  • American Institute of Steel Construction/ASCE Student Steel Bridge Competition: Aesthetics category
  • ASCE Construction Institute Student Symposium Competition
  • ASCE Southeast Student Symposium: Overall

Best Waterfront Design

  • ASCE Sustainable Solutions Competition