American Society of Civil Engineers Awards Student Chapter with Certificate of Commendation

Concrete Canoe 2017

NYU Tandon's concrete canoe team received the first place prize at the 2016 and 2017 ASCE Regional Concrete Canoe Competitions.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the oldest engineering society in the U.S., boasts university student chapters within all 50 states and in dozens of global universities and promotes sustainability and innovation within civil engineering. The group recently awarded the NYU Tandon ASCE student chapter with the 2016 Certificate of Commendation — the first time that the student chapter has received this accolade. Recognizing NYU Tandon’s achievements and competition victories over the past year, the ASCE commendation is only bestowed upon a select group of universities. (The ASCE stipulates that no more than 5% of the total amount of student chapters receive commendation certificates.)

The award also honors the dedication of NYU Tandon ASCE student officers, including president Nathan Evelkin ('17, B.S./M.S. civil and mechanical engineering), vice president Manoela Hammoud ('17, civil engineering), treasurer Cliff Cheng ('17, civil engineering), and secretary Ashlene Bisram ('18, B.S./M.S. civil engineering and environmental engineering). Known as the E-Board, the students channeled their experiences as captains of both the 2016 steel bridge and concrete canoe teams into increasing participation from first-year students, maximizing their fundraising efforts, and fostering the tight-knit community of current students and alumni. The board’s achievements included:

  • A 260% increase in underclassmen involvement after recruitment visits to core civil engineering courses and the added draw of the chapter’s competition victories. “Students can join the group without having taken any technical courses and be essential to the team’s success,” Bisram said.
  • Partnerships between NYU Tandon and ASCE alumni and generous sponsorship from groups like Ysrael A. Seinuk, P.C., Mega Contracting Group, Iannelli Construction, Parsons Corporation, and J-Track LLC.
  • Multiple site visits to ongoing construction projects by alumni and NYU Tandon professors, professional panels and guest lectures, and volunteering with young students interested in STEM at the ASCE National Engineers Week Kids Day event.

As co-captains, Hammoud, Cheng and Bisram led NYU Tandon to victory at the 2016 Concrete Canoe regional competition where the team placed first overall in the competition for their sustainable and aesthetically unique design. Featuring ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) and colorful natural pigments, the team’s vessel advanced for the fifth time to the national competition.


steel bridge v2
Evelkin (second from right) and the NYU Tandon Steel Bridge Team qualified for the 2016 national ASCE competition for the first time in the school's history.

Evelkin (second from right) and the NYU Tandon Steel Bridge Team qualified for the 2016 national ASCE competition for the first time in the school's history.

Evelkin, who was a captain for the 2016 steel bridge team, noted that last spring’s steel bridge competition marked the first time the NYU Tandon team headed to nationals after placing second overall at the regional challenge and excelling in the categories of display, deflection, and structural efficiency.

Though the commendation award centered on the 2016 accomplishments, the teams also shined at the April 2017 competitions. While the steel bridge team did not advance to nationals, the students gained an invaluable knowledge of the build process and project management. At the regional competition in Denville, NJ, the concrete canoe team raced to first place with their design that incorporated natural materials and employed digital fabrication, 3D printing and laser-cutting techniques. The team, which included students from civil engineering, mechanical engineering and biomolecular and chemical engineering, will face the top regional chapters at the national competition on June 17-19, 2017 at the Colorado School of Mines.

ASCE faculty adviser Jose Ulerio expressed that the two competitions impart an exceptional learning experience for students to apply their studies to real-world challenges. “Designing, procuring materials, fundraising, and project management are all part of the learning process which they get to apply by participating in the competitions,” Ulerio, an industry professor in civil and urban engineering, said.

“We really enjoyed being part of the ASCE chapter as it allowed us to help the student teams and build connections and skills not just for ourselves but for the student body. We’re so proud to be recognized by ASCE,” Evelkin shared. Hammoud also expressed how important ASCE was to her NYU Tandon education. “Now, as an alum, I will carry this experience with me into my career and am looking forward to providing guidance to future ASCE teams.”

Camila Ryder
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018