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2021 Student Symposium: Building Connections Despite Global Challenges

2021 Student Symposium: Building Connections Despite Global Challenges

The 2021 Student Symposium used virtual platforms to bring together students from across Texas and Mexico. Fifteen schools participated in “Building the Future” throughout the 3-day event, April 15 – 17. The symposium offered many professional development and power skills sessions, along with two keynote presentations, eight competitions, and an awards banquet to close out the conference. Students worked hard to compete in Concrete Canoe, Concrete Bowling, Concrete Frisbee, Blue Sky Innovation, Mystery Design, Surveying, Sustainable Solutions, and the Technical Paper Competition. Teams rose above the challenge of competing virtually to participate in these events. Students from across all fifteen schools also took the opportunity to network with sponsors through the virtual career fair. The 2021 Symposium was hosted by the ASCE Student Chapter of the University of Texas at Austin. The theme for this year was “Building the Future Together” to help students and professionals remember the importance of the relationships we build and the work that the Civil Engineering industry does.

Teams rose above the challenge of competing virtually to participate in these events.

Career Fair and Seminars

Despite the symposium taking on a different format, students and sponsors confidently undertook the challenge of making the conference a worth while experience. This year’s career fair involved 18 companies who interacted with students through Career Fair Plus. The virtual platform allowed students to talk to recruiters through chat or video call by joining their designated “booth”.

A variety of seminars were also hosted to allow students to learn more specific technical and professional skills. A total of twelve sessions were hosted, six continuing education topics, and six power skills. Topics included Forensic Engineering, Flood resilience, Email Etiquette, Networking for Young Engineers, and more.

Two keynote presentations were also held during lunch time on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, Anali Martinez Gonzalez presented on Turning Failures into Successes. On Friday, Mark Waggoner presented a case study on the new Q2 Stadium in Austin.

Social Events

With the symposium being virtual, casual networking was more of a challenge than previous years. Hence, many students took the opportunity to get to know each other as well as the participating professionals by attending the online social on Friday night. The social included a virtual trivia, with numerous prizes awarded. Some of the categories included questions about Austin, Civil Engineering, and even geography. The social was conducted with the help of the ASCE Austin Branch’s Younger Member Forum.

This year’s symposium was concluded with a virtual awards banquet on Saturday night. Students tuned in to YouTube live to see the results of the various competitions. Afterwards students were invited to join a Zoom call to celebrate and congratulate each other.

First place for each competition is listed below:

  • Concrete Canoe:
  • Concrete Frisbee: University of Houston
  • Concrete Bowling: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Mystery Design: Texas A&M University
  • Technical Paper: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
  • Surveying: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Sustainable Solutions: The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Blue Sky Innovation: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Student Business Meeting

The student business meeting included the announcement of the Texas-Mexico conference region realigning with ASCE Region 6. Starting in 2022, students from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Mexico will compete altogether in one large conference. With 20 schools coming together, it is going to be a great opportunity for students to expand their networks.

Save the Date

The 2022 Student Symposium will be hosted by the University of Houston as the first ever Region 6 Student Symposium. Keep an eye out for more information to come!