LU News Archive

facebook twitter Linkedin Email

LU prepares to host concrete canoe regional competition

A dozen Lamar University civil engineering students are working hard to ready Big Beau, their canoe, for the 2015 Tex-Mex Regional Competition. This year, preparations for the annual competition extend beyond the research and construction to include serving as hosts for the April 23-25 competition, the first at LU since 2004.

Lamar’s student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers will host the competition for the Texas-Mexico Region.

Preparing the canoeOver the course of the school year, more than 200 teams of civil engineering students log thousands of hours researching, designing and constructing unique concrete canoes and participate in regional events like the one Lamar will host with the goal of advancing to the ASCE national competition. This year, winning teams will advance to the 28th annual national competition hosted by Clemson University in South Carolina June 20-22.

“This is a major event for Lamar University because it brings in a lot of engineers and showcases the university,” said Justin Vasek, a junior from Santa Fe, Texas. Vasek, who is ASCE chapter treasurer, and ASCE chapter president Gerardo Mata, a senior civil engineering major from Beaumont, are in charge of hosting the competition.

Joining Lamar will be teams from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Rice University, University of Houston, UT San Antonio, A&M Kingsville, UT El Paso, Texas Tech University, UT Tyler, UT Pan American, UT Arlington, Universidad Autonoma Del Estada De Mexico, Universidad de La Salle Bajillo, Universidad de Las Americas Puebla and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.

“I’m excited for all the teams and professionals to arrive,” Vasek said. “We worked hard to prepare for their visit, and are excited to showcase all our university has to offer, especially in engineering.”

Competition consists of both academic and athletic events, and the scores are divided into four components each worth 25 percent of the team's final tally. The teams will arrive April 23. Competition begins in earnest early the next day as each team will set up their concrete canoes and prepare to make technical presentations of their design papers. Each canoe must pass a swamp test to ensure it will float when completely submerged in water. Judges will consider the presentations, displays and aesthetics. On Saturday, teams will arrive at Boomtown USA in Vidor to compete in five races: men’s sprint and endurance, women’s sprint and endurance, and a co-ed sprint. The day is completed with the announcements of the winning team.

“The competition is a great experience to see different teams’ perspective from design to construction of the canoe and to share the trials and tribulations it takes to get to the competition,” said Beaumont junior LaDonna Waters.

Joining Vasek and Waters on the team are Jessica Sezikeye, Bujumbura, Burundi, junior; Johnita Goodman, Houston, junior; Gerardo Mata, Beaumont, senior; Michael McDaniel, Baytown, senior; Michael Bourne, Port Neches, senior; Molly Duge, Brenham, junior; Remington Whitt, Livingston, senior; Berenice Villalpando, Jasper, junior; Brandon Belaire, Groves, junior; and Gwen Cormier, Beaumont, sophomore.

Lamar’s canoe, constructed with a carbon fiber mesh and concrete matrix using a lightweight aggregate is expected to perform well, Vasek said.  “A lot of work goes into testing sample mix designs, developing a mold, and designing the display.”

“The theme for Lamar’s Big Beau, our canoe, is ‘Living on the Bayou.’ The design focuses on life in Southeast Texas and celebrates the individuality and creativity of the people who live here,” Vasek said. “The weekend of competition always ends up being a fun celebration of all the hard work put into each team’s creation.”

“This competition is a great opportunity to apply the skills we have learned to a real-world problem,” Berenice Villalpando added.