Engineering students capture top awards at regional competition | University of Hawaiʻi System News – University of Hawaii

The engineering and design skills of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Engineering students were on full display at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Pacific Southwest Student Symposium in San Diego, California. Out of 14 schools from Southern California and Hawaiʻi, UH Mānoa’s ASCE student chapter placed fourth overall and within the top 3 in three major competitions, including timber strong design build, concrete canoe and transportation design.
The symposium from March 31 to April 2 is held annually to allow students to display their hard work in various engineering-related events. UH Mānoa finished in the top three in the following categories:
Timber Strong Design Build Overall: 1st place
Steel Bridge:
Concrete Canoe Overall: 3rd place
Transportation Design Overall: 3rd place
“I would see the students working daily, in the afternoons and late into the evenings, and the students also rehearsed their presentations in a formal setting before the symposium. I am really happy the symposium committee recognizes how creative and devoted our UH students are to the civil engineering profession,” said Oceana Francis, associate professor and ASCE student chapter faculty advisor. “Events like these help the students learn creative skills, networking, teamwork and building friendships that last a lifetime.”
Allena Novio is a senior majoring in civil engineering with a focus in structural engineering, and is the ASCE student chapter vice president. Novio was the project manager for the timber design build team, which took 1st place for the first time in this event. Teams were required to design and build a two-story light-wood-frame structure. According to Novio, a few of the challenges included designing a structure that was aesthetically pleasing and structurally durable, while still being cost-efficient, sustainable and constructable, which required many long days and nights prefabricating the structure components.
“Winning first place was such a rewarding feeling and made all of the long work days/nights, blood, sweat and tears that was put on this project worth it,” Novio said. “Being that the Pacific Southwest Regional Symposium has been virtual for the past two years due to COVID, being able to compete against other big name schools such as UCLA, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC San Diego and USC, made winning first place in the Timber Strong Design Build competition for the first time an even sweeter reward for myself and my team. This project allowed us to gain structural engineering design experience as well as a deeper insight into construction management.”
The UH Mānoa ASCE student chapter would like to mahalo its sponsors for helping to fund its projects: Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc.; Element Environmental, LLC; Goodfellow Bros.; Wilson Okamoto Corporation; MKE Associates LLC; Nagamine Okawa Engineers Inc.; Okahara and Associates, Inc.; Kiewit Building Group Inc.; Simpson Strong-Tie; Iwamoto Engineering Consultants, Inc.; Earthworks Pacific Inc; Fukunaga & Associates, Inc.; Koga Engineering & Construction, Inc.; Pacific Geotechnical Engineers, Inc.; Hirata & Associates, Inc.; Civil-Mechanical Contractor; SSFM International, Inc.; Tileco Inc.; Harold Sugiyama LLC; The Limtiaco Consulting Group; Coffman Engineers; Engineers Surveyors Hawaii, Inc.; and R M Towill Corporation.
This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goals of Enhancing Student Success (PDF) and Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.
—By Marc Arakaki
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