NYU Tandon Students Triumph in Civil Engineering Competitions

Teams Float a Beautiful Concrete Boat, Build a Sturdy Model Bridge, and Head to National Finals

Members of NYU Tandon’s concrete canoe team

NYU Tandon School of Engineering students will head to the national finals after racking up wins in two regional contests this weekend — a model bridge competition for those who will someday engineer national infrastructure and a concrete canoe challenge that offers future civil engineers new insight into a material ubiquitous in their field.

The Steel Bridge Competition, sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineering (ASCE) and the American Institute of Steel Construction, requires students to conceive, design, fabricate, erect, and test a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy. Students gain a heightened awareness of real-world engineering issues, including spatial constraints, material properties, strength, serviceability, safety, esthetics, and project management.

Members of the Steel Bridge Competition Team

Members of NYU Tandon’s steel bridge team from left: Enes Sinan; team co-captains Nate Evelkin and Julia Langewis; and Mark Milkis

The team from NYU Tandon’s Department of Civil and Urban Engineering took first place in the categories of display (how their bridge looked), deflection (how much it moved while bearing a static load), and structural efficiency (a ratio of deflection to weight of bridge) during the regionals April 9, 2016 at the City College of New York. The team placed second overall, thereby securing a position in the national finals at Brigham Young University May 27-28, 2016.

The victory, which marks the first time in NYU Tandon history that its steel bridge team has advanced to the nationals, is also notable because virtually all of the fabrication required for the project, including welding, was done in-house, by students. (Many university teams employ professional outside fabricators.)

Captains of NYU Tandon’s steel bridge team are Julia Langewis, a senior majoring in math and civil engineering, and Nathaniel Evelkin, who is expected to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering and mechanical engineering in 2017. The other team members are Zoya Benyaminov, Christopher Katsanos, Matthew Light, Ziyi Ma, Mark Milkis, Enes Sinan, and Marlon Vizhnay.

The ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition challenges students to design, build, and race a vessel that will float — despite being made of a material that laypeople assume would sink upon being placed in water. In the process, they get practical engineering experience and gain an awareness of the versatility and durability of concrete as a construction material.

The NYU Tandon team placed first in the categories of final product and oral presentation to the judges and finished in first place overall during the regional competition in Denville, New Jersey. The students will take part in the national competition June 9-11, 2016 at the University of Texas at Tyler — the school’s fifth trip to the nationals.

Although canoe aesthetics are judged, this year’s rules stipulate that they cannot be painted as in previous years. The NYU Tandon team members used natural mineral pigments to emboss their entry with a colorful design of koi, greatly differentiating themselves from other teams, which used either un-tinted or monochromatic concrete. They further distinguished themselves with their decision to use ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC), a relatively new material that resulted in an unusually glossy, marble-like finish.

Concrete-canoe captains are Ashlene Bisram, Cliff Cheng, and Manoela Hammoud, all juniors majoring in civil engineering; and Julia Mateusiak, a senior studying construction management. The team also included past captains Denisa Lleshi, Eric Shak, and Mishka Stueber; paddlers Nathan Evelkin, Carli Finnamore, Cameron Haas, Syed Hossain, Mark Milkis, and Priscilla Peguero; and casting day participants Hardik Agrawal, Javier Angel, Massimo Boni, Jamie Cheng, Heli Dave, Sederick Dawkins, Bennet Gaochen, Han Gau, Xiofan Gau, Yuhan Hu, Ankita Jain, Nick Jerden, Boris Nimcevic, My Pham, Mateus Rostek, Enes Sinan, Johnny Wehe, Danny Wong, and Diane Xiao.

“Our teams performed especially admirably in the technical subcategories that matter the most,” said Department Chair Magued Iskander. “This is a testament to the fine quality of our aspiring engineers and the faculty members who advised them, including Professor Weihua Jin, Roula Maloof, Walid Abou Moussa, Alexey Sidelev, and Jose Ulerio. The teams also had the benefit of several dedicated alumni who mentored them and came out to cheer them on. Engineering projects are always collaborative team efforts, and competitions like those sponsored by the ASCE provide a good opportunity for NYU Tandon’s entire civil engineering community to work toward a common goal.” 

Note: Images available at http://dam.poly.edu/?c=1712&k=1f77166dad

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, when the NYU School of Civil Engineering and Architecture as well as the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly) were founded. Their successor institutions merged in January 2014 to create a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to programs at its main campus in downtown Brooklyn, it is closely connected to engineering programs in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, and it operates business incubators in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn.