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E-Week promoted competition, celebrated engineering

All branches of the College of Engineering joined together to host E-Week , which was followed by the ASCE Southeast Student Conference last March.

E-Week combines competitions, expos and celebrations of the engineering discipline to demonstrate the need for and education of science, math and the technical skills.

E-Week, which began on Monday with a Tau Beta Pi sponsored event, included a Mr. Engineer Pageant, Innovation Expo and Row Across the Lake. The week culminated Sunday with a Hackathon event.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers President Tom Knight hosted the Build-It event that brought together 150 students from several local high schools to introduce them to engineering as a profession.

“We show engineering as a possible career choice by showing how awesome and fun it is,” Knight said.

The Row Across the Lake was sponsored by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and featured concrete canoes from previous competitions in support of E-Week and ASCE’s upcoming Southeast Student Conference.

For the first time in more than 10 years, the University of Miami, along with Florida International University, jointly hosted the ASCE Southeast Student Conference.

The conference featured 24 universities from the Southeast region, 850 students and more than 100 professionals spanning both campuses, Tropical Park and Parrot Jungle.

The conference was comprised of 15 different engineer-oriented competitions that were meant to test what the students have learned in the classroom, out in the field.

“Doing equations in the classroom is one thing,” said Carol Hays, the faculty advisor for ASCE. “Applying these numbers is something completely different.”

For one of the competitions, students built a concrete canoe.

“It has to float,” Hays said. “So the students make their own mix, reinforcing it and making it lightweight, applying fluid mechanics and buoyancy just to name a few.”

The other main event was the steel-bridge competition, which involved cutting and welding steel, construction, and testing its strength by hanging 1400 lbs. from the top.

“Last year we stayed until three in the morning everyday practicing putting the bridge up it and taking it down over and over,” said Fabi Praca, who was captain of his team.

The judges scored the bridge on several components. One criterion was the actual construction, which dealt with fast-paced efficiency and was high stakes, because every error caused a penalty, Praca said.

A primary advantage of the conference was the opportunity for employers to get a good look at prospective future employees.

“I used this competition to hire students straight from the conference,” said Jose Acosta, a practitioner advisor for UM ASCE. A former ASCE president, Acosta graduated from UM in 1999.

Acosta, who is a 10-year veteran of the event, judged the concrete canoes.

“It really gives them the opportunity to show their technical, management and leadership skills in a very unique way,” he said.

The conference held a career networking event invited 25 companies to meet with the 850 students in attendance.

One of the primary sponsors of the event was Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. Gilberto Neves, CEO of Odebrecht USA, stressed that good talent is what makes this conference.

“Every time we go into these events, we get great talent,” Neves said. “We have very ambitious goals for growth in this country, and we need to attract the best.”

Praca said that, more than networking with other companies, the event was about networking with other engineers from different schools, making connections and honing your talents.

“You put together all the different ideas you hear in class and make something happen,” Praca said.

July 11, 2013

Reporters

Sam Abbassi


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