Sustainable, colorful, stable ... NYU’s Tandon’s latest, award-winning concrete canoe

group of students standing behind colorful concrete canoe by lakeside

The NYU Concrete Canoe team will be headed once again to the national competition this June.

Back in 2019, NYU Tandon School of Engineering students triumphed at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Metropolitan Regional Concrete Canoe Competition, marking the fourth consecutive regional win for the team and setting a new school record.

They say records are meant to be broken — an aphorism the Concrete Canoe team has definitely shown to be true: Although the regionals were canceled in 2020 due to the global pandemic, Tandon dominated the competition in both 2021 and 2022, to boast six consecutive wins.

Thanks to their most recent performance, the team will be headed once more to the nationals, scheduled to be held live at Louisiana Tech University from June 3 to 5. (It will be the first in-person nationals since 2019.)

Carina Tan, a member of the Class of 2022, joined the team during her first year here and has worked her way up to co-project manager. “This year’s canoe is very special,” she asserts. “First of all, we experimented with adding various pigments to the concrete, in effect, ‘painting’ with the colored batches, so the decorative component is quite innovative. More important, however, given NYU’s focus on sustainability, is that we created an ultra-low carbon and bendable concrete mix that has less than 2 percent portland cement by weight, meaning that its carbon footprint was drastically reduced.”

While team members were able to work in person in advance of the regionals, COVID-19 still posed some serious problems. “Getting raw materials was sometimes a challenge because of shipping and supply chain issues,” co-project manager Edgar Lei, who is also earning his B.S. in Civil and Urban Engineering this year, explains. “The team really pulled together though, and while we’ll continue to make refinements, I think we’re more than ready for the nationals.”

The team’s longtime advisor, Industry Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering Weihua Jin — who is himself known for innovative research into sustainable cement-based materials — praised the members and expressed hope that new students will continue to join them. “The Concrete Canoe team is part of Tandon’s Vertically Integrated Projects program, which means that, like Carina and Edgar, students can participate for multiple years, taking on roles of increasing responsibility as they go. It’s really a great opportunity to get hands-on experience and work on a major, interdisciplinary project.”

Magued Iskander, the chair of the Department of Civil and Urban Engineering, offered his own congratulations and good wishes for the upcoming nationals and says: “Each year, the competition gives our students a chance to leverage what they learn in the classroom in a fun and exciting way. I’m personally very proud of them, and I’m also grateful to the IDC Foundation for its generous sponsorship.”


Team Captains

  • Carina Tan (Co-project Manager)
  • Edgar Lei (Co-project Manager)
  • Michelle Ren (Junior Project Manager and Mix Captain)
  • Shakya Amaratunga (Mix Captain)
  • Wisely Chang Wu (Aesthetics Captain)
  • Emmalyn Romero (Structural Analysis Captain)
  • Joel Mendoza (Construction and Hull Design Captain)
  • Andre Wu (Paddling Captain)
  • Andrew Qu (Enhanced Focus Area/Machine Learning Captain)

Team Members

  • Fahim Ahmed
  • Amanda Chen
  • Brian Chen
  • David Dong
  • Yaman Garg
  • Saimul Hossain
  • Yanely Jean Louis
  • Jie Jin
  • Lin Lin Jin
  • Noshin Khan
  • Leann Kim
  • Sasha Kucher
  • Mengqi Li
  • Adiba Miazi
  • Meera Patel
  • Eric Piskarev
  • Samantha Rathe
  • Colin Saideman
  • Emily Tran
  • Danna Wu
  • Gavin Zhao
  • Hao Xian Zheng