||Friday, March 13th 2009 [ versión español ]
Students from the Departments of Civil Engineering and Surveying of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), who make up the UPRM team of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), presented their inventions; these students will participate in the regional competition of this organization which will take place March 26-29, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Accompanied by the dean of Engineering, doctor Ramón Vásquez; the director of Civil Engineering, Ismael Pagán Trinidad; and the team director, Hiram González, as well as advising professors, the young students showed some of the creations that they will take to Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
The steel bridge, the concrete canoe, the concrete golf disk and the concrete cylinder are just some of the inventions constructed by these future engineers of UPRM, who will participate in the competition which has 13 different categories, although the principal categories are that of the steel bridge and the concrete canoe. The bridge is made of steel, measures 20 feet in length, five feet in width and weighs close to 280 lbs. The canoe is made of concrete, measures 20 feet in length and weighs approximately 200 lbs. Both projects will undergo four different tests: the bridge, according to Edmanuel Carrasco captain of the group, will be examined for its construction, vertical load, lateral load, and weight. For the canoe they will be evaluating its design, resistance, floatability and the use of recyclable materials in its fabrication. The students who constructed the canoe have participated in training with the members of the Association of Canoes and Kayaks of the Olympic Federation of Puerto Rico, due to the fact that one of the requirements of this division is that it be submitted to five test runs, according to Ángel Alicea, captain of the canoe group.
The UPRM team, which is the only representative of Puerto Rico in these competitions, consists of 49 students from Civil Engineering and Surveying, who will participate in the 13 categories of the competition. Some of the categories include: a bridge made of balsa wood, geo-technics, surveying, the environment, transportation, reading of plans, and a mystery category, as well as the design of a shirt and the composition of an essay about sustainability and Civil Engineering.
“This is a very demanding creative process. Students are well supervised, work professionally, learn all of the skills of professional practices, but mostly the projection of Engineering education in Puerto Rico is of national and international quality,” stated professor Pagán Trinidad.
The Dean of Engineering echoed these words by indicating that UPRM demonstrates its academic excellence and that of its students by being the only University in Puerto Rico to participate in the competition.
Challenges, according to professor González, are more intense for UPRM students because they are required to travel to these events by boat or by plane from a place that is farther away; however, the spirit of the Puerto Rican team never diminishes.
“The students enthusiasm and motivation is so strong, they have been doing this for 10 years and even though it is a lot of work they don’t get tired, just satisfied,” said González. The team’s director is also one of the four advising professors along with doctors José Guevara, Felipe Acosta and José Flores.
Student, Andrea Pecunia, president of the UPRM chapter of ASCE, urged citizens to support them in their goal of competing for Puerto Rico.
“If you would like to communicate with the Department, call 787-832-4040, any size donation should be made to the Department of Civil Engineering, attention to Madeline Carrero, who is in charge of the team’s finances. We are putting UPRM’s name on notice; that we want to bring back the top prize of champions like we did in 2003,” she assured.
She added that even though they are counting on the help of the Chancellor’s Office, the Dean of Engineering, the Municipality of Mayagüez and various private enterprises from Puerto Rico and United States, they still need $13 thousand to arrive at the total of $37 thousand that they need to be able to compete.
This will be the eleventh time a UPRM team has participated in this competition. In previous years, UPRM students have won prizes in the categories of: geo-technics, mystery, surveying, the environment, concrete golf disk, and visual display. Also, last year they were winners of the team spirit award at the competition, which took place in the University of Central Florida, in Orlando.
Students presented their creations accompanied by (from left to right) doctor Ramón Vásquez, professor Hiram González, professor Ismael Pagán Trinidad and doctor Roberto Vargas, representative of the UPRM Chancellor.
Ángel Alicea, in the center, captain of the canoe team, along with Nannette Jover and Andrea Pecunia, secretary and president of the UPRM chapter of ASCE respectively.
Captain of the concrete bridge team, Edmanuel Carrasco, mentioned that this category will be evaluated in the areas of construction, vertical load, lateral load, and weight.
Nannette Jover does a demonstration on geo-technics, category that UPRM students have won for the past two years.
Andrea Pecunia holds the concrete golf disk that will be taken to the competition.
Photographs by Carlos Díaz / UPRM Press