SIU student engineers win first place at regional competition


Saad Binsefran, left, a sophomore from Saudi Arabia studying civil engineering, watches as Mansor Sufran, team captain of SIU’s Steel Bridge Team, explains a way for the team to reduce the build time of the bridge during a celebration Monday of the the regional wins of SIU’s Steel Bridge and Concrete Canoe teams in the courtyard of the Engineering Building. Both teams will move on to its respective national competitions. Sufran, a senior from Saudi Arabia studying civil engineering, said the team won the regional for the first time in 10 years. Sufran promised Sanjeev Kumar, the department of civil engineering chairman, that the team would win first place in the regional competition. “I knew it was a big promise to make,” Sufran said, “but I really believed in the team we have, they’re great.” — April 25, 2016, Carbondale, Ill.

By Diamond Jones, Daily Egyptian

For the first time in its history, SIU’s American Society of Civil Engineers swept regional competitions at Missouri University of Science and Technology in steel bridge and concrete canoe building. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers/American International Society of Engineers steel bridge and concrete canoe competitions took place Friday and Saturday and both SIU teams took home first place.

The Carbondale chapter of ASCE is a group of students who participate in activities in the field of civil and environmental engineering to better themselves while reaching out to employers who are looking for leaders. 


Last year, the teams placed first and fifth in the concrete canoe and steel bridge contests, respectively. 

We wanted to keep up the momentum to get first place, and my biggest fear was that we wouldn’t,” said Emily Waldon, captain of the concrete canoe team.

Waldon, a junior from Hornlake, Miss., studying civil engineering, said one of the biggest challenges the team faced was a learning curve of 20 new members. She said the team returned eight people from last year, and the other members had to go through intense training to make sure they were ready.

Jessica Wignes, one of the new members, said she was anxious about her first competition.

“I was hoping that we would do well,” said Wignes, a freshman from Ottawa studying civil engineering. “It was very hard to get the project done with the amount of time and space we had, but working as a team definitely helped.”

The concrete canoe is judged on of the construction of a canoe as it relates to the placement of concrete, reinforcement and flotation materials. 

Steel-bridge judging is based on categories regarding to the strength of the bridge — measured by loading the bridge with 2,500 pounds — such as lightness, economy, efficiency and the display of the product.


“We put everything we could into that bridge,” said Mansor Sufran, captain of the bridge building team. “We spent so much time and it paid off. I consider myself graduated already because that was the biggest accomplishment in my life.”

Sanjeev Kumar, chairman of SIUC’s civil and environmental engineering program, said ASCE is one of the biggest registered student organizations within the College of Engineering. 

“I am very proud of what these students have shown and what they can do,” Kumar said. “These students work and skills reflect upon our program, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.