Students in the McNeese State University Department of Engineering and Computer Science competed and placed in a concrete canoe competition and a Chem-E Car competition.
At the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Gulf Coast Symposium, McNeese students won first place in the Hank Aaron Smash Competition, second place in concrete canoe overall, second place for the concrete canoe presentation, third place in concrete canoe final product and third place in krewe pulling.
For the Hank Aaron Smash win, the students made a concrete bat to specific measurements and standards for the competition. They used the bat to play a modified baseball game until the bat lost its structural integrity.
The ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition provides students a unique opportunity to gain hands-on practical experience while testing their skills with concrete mix designs and project management challenges.
“I want to push myself past the unknown,” said Pavel Kraus, senior from Czechia, who is a member of the concrete canoe team. “In civil engineering you’re always pushing to learn how to do things better.”
Kraus says he enjoys the challenges of civil engineering and plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in engineering (civil) and then pursue a master’s degree.
McNeese professors Dr. Dimitrios Dermisis and Dr. Firouz Rosti were the advisers for the team.
“Dr. Rosti and I are proud of our students’ efforts and dedication throughout the competition,” Dermisis said. “From the early design stage to building the canoe and to the race’s final moments, our students showed great teamwork, sportsmanship and resilience.”
Dermisis added that their commitment to achieving their goal and pushing themselves to the limit was inspiring and their awards are well-deserved.
McNeese chemical engineering students placed first in the 2023 Southwest American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Regional Student Conference in College Station, Texas.
AIChE’s annual Chem-E-Car Competition engages college students in designing and constructing a car powered by a chemical energy source that will safely run a specific given distance and stop. McNeese’s Chem-E car team began in 2022 and the team has been successful over more experienced teams.
“Getting involved with the Chem-E car team allowed me to learn new skills, meet new people and accomplish goals as a team,” Darcy Lavergne, a junior from Roanoke, explained. “The best part was being given the opportunity to travel off campus, interact with students from other schools and seeing our team’s hard work pay off!”
“All the students are hardworking and motivated. I just make sure they are making progress,” said Dr. Ram Subramaniam, an engineering professor at McNeese and the adviser for the team. “I also encouraged them when things didn’t go as they had planned.”
Lavergne is looking forward to a summer internship with Cheniere Energy Inc. and plans to pursue graduate school after earning a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.
“McNeese has given me the opportunity to learn leadership skills and grow my network while challenging me to be a better student and future professional,” she said.
McNeese will host the AIChE 2024 regional conference next spring.
“These students have made us all proud and we are confident that this success is the beginning of much more,” Dermisis said.
For more information about McNeese’s engineering and computer science programs go to https://www.mcneese.edu/sem/engineering-and-computer-science/.