“Building on the Wild Frontier” 2023 Student Symposium Recap

Leonel Aldape, 2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Co-Lead Planner, Texas Tech University
Noah Kendall, 2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Co-Lead Planner, West Texas A&M University

June 2023

2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Steel Bridge Competition

The 2023 ASCE Region 6 Student Symposium gathered over 700 students and professionals from Mexico, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in Amarillo, Texas. The Symposium offered students the opportunity to showcase their year of hard work through various competitions while attending technical and career-orientated seminars, interacting with potential employers at the career fair, and networking socials. The competitions couldn’t have been a success without the dedicated time and support from the wonderful volunteer judges from ASCE Texas Section, led by the head judge Shannon Jungman PE. 

2023 Region 6 Student Symposium TimberStrong Competition

The ASCE Student Chapters at West Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University hosted this year’s Symposium. The student planners decided on a theme of “Building on the Wild Frontier,” inspired by the West Texas Frontier and the strong culture of hardworking people in the area. This theme emphasized the communal goal of professionals joining together to make a new and better way of life for themselves and others. 

ASCE Region 6 and Texas Section volunteers led the planning effort for the 2023 ASCE Region 6 Student Symposium Career Fair, which allowed 27 agencies and companies the unique opportunity to interact with students. On Thursday and Friday, students from all 24 participating universities were encouraged to attend the career fair and network with recruiters and engineers. Additionally, technical presentations on relevant topics for students and professionals were provided throughout the day on Thursday and Friday. Such topics included renewable energy, residential land development, wind turbines, licensure, effective leadership, time management, and many more. Professional attendees could also earn Professional Development Hours by attending these sessions. 

2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Concrete Canoe Competition

On Wednesday, excitement was felt as students checked in for the ASCE Region 6 Student Symposium at the Rex Baxter Building located in the Tri-State Fair Grounds in Amarillo. As the day progressed, 12 Concrete Canoe teams set up their displays, and students began interacting and sharing their yearlong design project experiences. The following day, the event continued at 8 AM sharp with various engaging activities, including Concrete Canoe Displays and presentations from student teams in the Surveying, Innovation, and Sustainable Solutions competitions. Simultaneously, universities participating in the Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) were setting up their bridges. During lunch, students enjoyed local Amarillo food from Pizza Nomad. The Symposium Planning Committee ensured a diverse range of food trucks were available for students during the events’ lunches and socials. After lunch, students participated in the Technical Paper, Mystery Design, and Timber Strong Competition. This year, participation in the Timber Strong Competition grew from one team in 2022 to five teams, making it even more exciting. The day concluded with the ASCE Younger Members hosting a social at Starlight Ranch, offering students a chance to relax and socialize with a concert, games, and more food trucks from around Amarillo. 

2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Starlight Ranch Social

On Friday, the highly anticipated Student Steel Bridge Competition took place, with 22 universities participating in the event, attracting a large crowd of onlookers. Teams were judged based on their construction speed, lightness, aesthetics, stiffness, cost estimate, economy, and efficiency, making for an exciting and competitive event. Later that day, the second social gathering was held at the West Texas A&M football stadium, where students enjoyed a range of outdoor activities, more food trucks, and a raffle. The raffle was aimed at rewarding students who attended technical presentations. The event’s final day featured fun activities such as concrete bowling and frisbee. Unfortunately, teams could not race their concrete canoes due to inclement weather.

Nevertheless, students had a great time at Southeast Park, and the Symposium concluded with the ASCE Region 6 Awards Banquet later that night. The event was attended by various leaders from ASCE Regions, Sections, Branches, and Student Chapters from 24 universities. ASCE President Maria C. Lehman PE, ENV SP, F. ASCE was also present and spoke about the future of civil engineering and ASCE’s role in it. The President congratulated the organizers of the Symposium for their remarkable efforts and recognized the participating student chapters and their teams for their hard work. With over 700 attendees at the banquet, the closing ceremony was a momentous occasion, celebrating the achievements and year-long hard work of everyone involved. 

2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Surveying Competition, Concrete Bowling Competition, and Concrete Canoe Foot Races.

Over 60 participants attended the annual Region 6 Student Business Meeting, including students and faculty advisors from 25 student chapters. Discussion topics included feedback for the 2023 Student Symposium hosts, ideas for improvement moving forward, and more. Key updates included President Lehman addressing the student leaders on civil engineering in the United States, avenues to provide feedback to the Committee on Student Members, and chapter and financial support opportunities from the region and sections.  New business included voting on the host chapters for the 2025 and 2026 Student Symposiums. 

2023 Region 6 Student Symposium Awards Banquet