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Marshall to host over 200 engineering students for 2023 Virginias ASCE Student Symposium

Engineering students from universities throughout West Virginia and Virginia will be in Huntington April 13-15 as Marshall University’s Department of Civil Engineering hosts the 2023 Virginias ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Student Symposium.

More than 220 students and 50 judges will be participating in events related to civil engineering, including two hallmark competitions that members of the public are invited to observe — the Concrete Canoe competition on Friday, April 14, at Beech Fork Marina and the Steel Bridge competition on Saturday, April 15, at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium concourse.

For the concrete canoe competition, student teams must design and construct their canoes at their home schools and bring the canoes with them to the symposium, where they participate in a series of races in the canoes at Beech Fork, along with giving a technical presentation. The races go on from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 14 at Beech Fork Marina in Lavalette.

“For the steel bridge contest, students from each school design and fabricate their bridge to contest specifications before arriving on campus,” said James Queen, Marshall’s ASCE student chapter president, who leads the group with Alaine Rutherford, student chapter vice president. “When everyone arrives on campus, we have a timed bridge assembly event and then a load testing event to make sure it will hold the requisite weight before it breaks.”

The Steel Bridge contest goes on from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 15 at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium Concourse.

In addition to these two main events, there is a surveying competition, concrete frisbee, innovation competition, construction institute competition and various social events for the students. The symposium is an opportunity for students to both compete in events that correlate with their degree coursework as well as getting to interact with students from other chapters and the judges, who are working professionals.

Marshall students also helped organize the event, for which Marshall received a number of contributions, including a $10,000 donation from the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Huntington Post.

“The ASCE student symposium is more than just a competition,” said Sukjoon Na, assistant professor of civil engineering. “It’s a platform for young civil engineers to showcase their skills, interact with professionals, and gain hands-on experience in project management and event coordination. With the generous support of many sponsors including [the] SAME Huntington Post, Nucor and even individuals, these students are paving the way for a better future in civil engineering.”

Although Marshall has been participating in the event for over a decade, this is the first time the university will host it. Marshall’s steel bridge team placed second in 2013, which allowed students to move on to the national competition in Seattle.

For more information about Marshall’s Department of Civil Engineering, visit