Olympiad CvEEN 2017 Team

A team from the CvEEN Department organized the Towers Event during the 2017 Science Olympiad on Saturday April 15th. The competition attracted more than 30 two-student teams from Utah High Schools and Junior High Schools. The towers were tested under gravity load by pouring sand into a bucket hanging from the top of the tower. The teams were ranked based on the ratio of the load the tower could resist to the tower’s self-weight.

[Photo] From left to right Massoud Hosseinali, Dr. Luis Ibarra, Matt Wang, Swastik Pokhrel, Avinash Rajesh Rishi, Jeff Roberts, and Dr. Gaby Ou.

2017 ASCE Conference

Early April, the University of Utah Student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers proudly hosted the annual Rocky Mountain Regional Student Conference. Faculty advisor, Dr. Christine Pomeroy and student conference chair, Jenny Calderon, organized a planning team of six exceptional University of Utah students to help plan every aspect of the event, including fundraising, organization, venue rental, catering, coordination, communication, and many other aspects, large and small. The planning team students were Treven Edwards (steel bridge chair), James Holt (concrete canoe chair), Heather Christensen (fundraising / sustainability coordinator), Gemma Clark (Awards Banquet Coordinator), Korey Walsh (fundraising), and Caity Neilsen (events coordinator).

The ASCE conference brought together fourteen region schools in Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and New Mexico. Nearly 400 of the most creative and dedicated students from our region came out to compete in engineering competitions throughout the weekend, culminating in an awards banquet to honor their successes.

The opening reception was held at the incomparable Rice Eccles Stadium Tower Scholarship room. This beautiful space overlooks the entire city and campus. During the reception students competed in a mystery design competition challenging each school to build the tallest pasta tower that could support a mock green roof (sponge) when fully saturated.
The crowning event was the steel bridge build. This competition challenges student teams with a real world problem and requires them to design and build a scaled down bridge that meets the design specifications. Each team must build a bridge which strikes a balance between cost, strength, weight, and aesthetic appeal. These are evaluated by an aesthetic evaluation, the number of members on the build team, efficiency and time required to build, and deflection measured when supporting predetermined gravity and lateral point loads.
Concrete canoe races were held at Utah Lake’s Lindon Marina. There students used their concrete canoes to compete in a variety of sprints and endurance races. That evening the winning teams in each category were honored at the awards banquet, held at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. In addition to the many award categories, the scores from all events were tallied and the overall conference award went to next year’s host school, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Design engineers are challenged every day to balance form, function, efficiency, sustainability, and cost. The planning team considered sustainability an important aspect to draw attention to and incorporated it in as many ways as possible. The team worked tirelessly to secure the funding necessary to incorporate this focus into the conference. These efforts ensured recycled paper for all printed materials, biodegradable name badge holders, recycling bins at every event, an organized service project at Red Butte Garden, and even a mystery design competition with a nod to sustainability and green infrastructure.

Undergraduate Students Win Water Environment Association of Utah Student Design Competition

Team members Dani Zebelean, Jenny Calderon, Heather Christensen and Collin Miller.

Each team was given a problem that required students to design a Water Reclamation Facility as well as a secondary distribution and sanitary sewer collection pipeline to service a new community that is expected to develop at the base of the Oquirrh Mountain Range in Magna, Utah. Their design aimed to promote a paradigm shift from “wastewater” treatment to reclamation, conservation, and reuse.

To do this, the team designed a system that produced a Type I Reclaimed Water effluent that can be used for landscape and agricultural irrigation. Additionally, the Water Reclamation Facility was designed to produce Class A Biosolids to be used as fertilizer for agricultural land application. On top of all that, the final treatment facility utilized the reuse of high-quality methane gas produced by the solids handling process as an alternate energy source to help reduce operational costs and energy consumption at the plant. 

Their design was also unique in that the secondary water storage method consisted of cascading reservoirs within a an aesthetically pleasing community park to be built within the new development area. This aspect of the design aimed to alter the traditional societal perspective on “wastewater” treatment process to make a more accepted and transparent connection between the community and water reclamation efforts.

By winning this competition the students are awarded a fully-funded trip to the Annual WEFTEC Water Quality Conference of 2017 in Chicago to compete at the National WEFTEC Student Design Competition in September of this year.