On Post

ASCE Competition Highlights Cadet Skills

VMI cadets work to assemble their steel bridge during the American Institute of Steel Construction student competition.

VMI’s team races the clock to assemble their steel bridge during the American Institute of Steel Construction student competition. The team got the bridge built within the time limit, passed the lateral load-testing phase, and held the entire 2,500 pounds of vertical load. Pictured are (from left) Cadets James Hart ’22, Robert Massey ’23, Alex DiPrampero ’22, Kevin Todd ’22, Sam Moody ’22, and Ben Oley ’23.—Photo courtesy Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

VMI’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering hosted students from 11 institutions April 7-9 for the Virginias American Society of Civil Engineers 2022 Student Symposium. In the first in-person ASCE student symposium since 2019, cadets, students, and faculty were thrilled to collaborate and compete on post and at Lake Robertson.

“We had great support from the civil engineering community in the region, including many VMI civil engineering alumni,” said Col. Matthew Swenty, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering.

“It was a good learning experience and opportunity to network with students from other schools,” added Cadet Samuel Moody ’22. “We had a great group of people, and a lot of effort was put in to successfully host [the conference] this year.”

VMI cadets and faculty were joined by participants from Virginia Tech, Old Dominion, Fairmont State, West Virginia, West Virginia Tech, Marshall, James Madison, Liberty, Bluefield State, and the Miller School. The Miller School, a private high school in Crozet, Virginia, was one of the first high schools to ever participate in an ASCE conference. In addition, Tom Smith, ASCE national executive director, attended the event and spoke at the banquet.

The conference featured 10 competitions. The main events included a concrete canoe race and a steel bridge building competition. Highly anticipated by participants, both competitions tested students’ teamwork, design skills, and construction capabilities. Over the course of several months, teams built their respective canoes and fabricated pieces for their steel bridges.

At the conference, teams raced their canoes on Lake Robertson while the steel bridges were constructed under a time limit in the Corps Physical Training Facility. In addition to the main competitions, the conference featured leadership seminars and informative sessions.

Cadets valued the chance to test their design knowledge and learn new skills.

“The competition served as a unique hands-on learning experience that allowed the teams to become familiar with conceptualizing a design that could then be student-built into a physical product,” said Cadet Alexander DiPrampero ’22, who competed in the steel bridge building competition. “[My team was] introduced to design software and skills such as welding that we may not have been able to learn if it had not been for the competition.”

  • Eric Moore VMI Communications & Marketing