Bradley, ASCE to host midwest engineering conference

Bradley will host the American Society of Civil Engineers National Conference of the Great Lakes 2012, an engineering competition for civil engineering majors throughout the Midwest.

The yearly conference will feature various competitions on April 20, in Eureka at Eureka Lake, and April 21 at the Renaissance Coliseum.

Because of the popularity of the event and the interest from students across the Midwest, ASCE Conference Chair Karla Blanco said they are anticipating a good turnout.

“We’re expecting about 550 [people]… from 17 other schools, such as Northwestern University, Purdue University and University of Illinois,” she said.

Because of the large number of schools involved, this is the first time in over a decade that Bradley will host the event.

“I only know of one other time [Bradley hosted] and it was 15 years ago,” said Blanco. “There are 18 schools that it [the competition] will rotate between.”

As part of conference, there are seven different competitions including concrete canoe, steel bridge, geotechnical, wastewater treatment, surveying and technical paper.

With the opportunity at hand, Blanco said they are hoping to test students’ knowledge and push them through a series of different contests with other schools’ programs.

“We’re hoping that they can take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to real world applications through different competitions,” she said. “It’s also a chance to network with area professionals.”

Each school enters one team of students to participate in each event. This year 45 Bradley students will participate in the weekend’s event.

Junior civil engineering major Chris Ott is one of four team members who will participate in the geotechnical competition next weekend. Ott said he is confident that the team will do well.

“I am looking forward to seeing if all the hard work that we put into the project pays off and if our design works,” he said. “As well as meeting and networking with other engineers.”

Coordinating the event has been a combined effort of professors of the civil engineering and construction department, local professionals and the Bradley ASCE chapter.

Regardless of the field of engineering or major, Blanco said students from all majors are encouraged to come to the competitions.

“We would love more people to come and watch,” she said.