February Spotlight - PSU ASCE Creates Opportunities for Students & Benefits Members

In contrast to the previous year’s officers of graduating seniors and CECOP students, the 2017 - 2018 PSU ASCE officers are a new and diverse group of sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  Evan Kristof continues as the chapter’s faculty advisor and Jim Phillips also stays on as the professional advisor.  

The Fall term began with a visit from ASCE’s National President-Elect Kristina Swallow.  She presented ASCE’s key initiatives focusing on the big picture approach to achieving the tenets of Vision 2025. In the evening, ASCE Oregon Section hosted Kristina for the annual section gala event where she was inducted into her role as President.

In an ongoing tradition, student chapter members attended the “Meet a Civil Engineer Day” which this year was hosted by Oregon State University in Corvallis. PSU student members met with other student chapter groups as well as networked with professionals.  During the recognition ceremony, PSU’s ASCE President Alice Root was awarded the Bryon Jones Scholarship for her dedicated work planning campus activities and helping her fellow students.



One of PSU’s most popular activities are Lunch and Learn events, featuring hour-long presentations from a broad range of speakers. These presentations provide students with an opportunity to learn from professionals and peers, plus take a break from classes to enjoy a free lunch. This year’s topics have included concrete pipes, student capstone presentations, and seismic infrastructure. In our most recent Lunch and Learn, Principal Ed Quesenberry from Equilibrium Engineers LLC gave a talk on cross-laminated timber and its influence on Portland’s trendsetting new structures.

PSU’s student chapter arranges opportunities for students to visit civil engineering sites. Site tours from earlier in the year included the Bonneville Dam and the Rock Creek Wastewater Treatment Center. The most recent site visit was in collaboration with YMF where students and professionals were able to walk through the recently finished Sellwood Bridge.

To help build a cohesive chapter, general meetings occur once a term and consist of an interactive activity followed by a presentation. For the fall term general meeting, the environmental team Captain Jeff Pryor led a water filter demonstration using sand in different shaped bottles. For the upcoming winter term general meeting, members will begin with an in-house competition testing the structural integrity of paper bridges. These activities are educational, fun, and strengthen student bonds.

PSU has three established competitive teams that meet on a weekly basis. The steel bridge and concrete canoe teams both began designing in the early fall. Over winter break both teams began fabrication and construction. While the environmental team awaits mailer 2 for the regional conference, the team plans to work on a miniature water filter plant project. This project will help the team to be active year round and attract new members. In recognition of the teams hard work, the student chapter group will be hosting a competitive teams Design Reveal at a popular local pub. This showcase will allow the teams to present their design projects to their families, friends, peers and professionals. This event will showcase at Rogue Hall and will end with a civil engineering themed trivia.

While there are a few more lunch and learns and professional events lined up, one of our larger events will be in collaboration with the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute. In the beginning of April,  ASCE and EERI will be hosting a disaster prep event for the general public. There will be a showing of the OPB’s documentary Unprepared followed by a panel discussion with two professionals.

Three ASCE officers and a student member attended the Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders in Las Vegas. John Siler, Gabryel Galvez and Luke Barr, the treasurer, activities coordinator, and outreach coordinator respectively returned from the conference with promising ideas and thoughts for the upcoming term and year. As these students will be at PSU next year, their ideas will help guide the student chapter as they transition into new leadership roles next year.

While there have been many activities, it has taken great effort on many people’s part to make everything happen.  Transitioning to a new website and email system has made it simpler and easier to communicate with members about the student chapter events. 

Keeping members informed increases the strength of ASCE’s reach, allowing members to benefit from all the amazing events and activities PSU ASCE creates.  From active participation in teams to site visits to built projects, PSU ASCE creates opportunities for students to broaden their education, experience, and life long bonds as they prepare for their future careers. 

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