Notre Dame students receive 7 podium finishes in the 2024 ASCE Indiana-Kentucky Student Conference Symposium

A group photo of the students who participated in the 2024 ASCE competitions pose in front of their concrete canoe.

The Notre Dame student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) received seven podium finishes at the 2024 ASCE Indiana-Kentucky Student Conference Symposium.

Hosted this year by Purdue Northwest University, the competitions took place the weekend of April 11-13 and featured 12 student chapters from Indiana and Kentucky.

The Notre Dame team consisted of a record 49 students, including 9 first-year students, 10 sophomores, 17 juniors, and 13 seniors. Twenty-two students were attending the conference for the first time. 

The team excelled in a wide variety of events during the symposium, including:

Concrete Canoe Competition

This competition consisted of a presentation and report detailing the efforts by the mix design and structural teams to build the Notre Dame canoe, “Canoeniverse.” The team designed and constructed an 18-ft concrete canoe, which they transported to the competition. Unfortunately, no canoes could race this year due to inclement weather, but the canoe was still on display for everyone to see. Led by senior Joan Deitsch, the team finished in second place in the overall canoe competition, the highest finish in concrete canoe team history.

Students pose in front of their concrete canoe.


Notre Dame was asked Jeopardy-style questions from categories that included the Fundamentals of Engineering (F.E.) Exam, Famous Buildings, ASCE Symposium, Fundamental Physics, C.E. Disciplines, Ethics, Famous Collapses, Math, and Random. They placed first overall! Notre Dame was represented by Joan Deitsch, Finn O’Reilly, Grace Astolfi, and Elena Que.

Sustainable Solutions Competition

This competition required teams to create a proposal to redevelop a new waterfront area in a fictional city while meeting the city’s sustainability goals. Captained by senior Jack Munzel, Notre Dame’s team placed second overall.

Technical Paper

Junior Emma Quinn presented the Technical Paper (Daniel W. Mead Competition) on the ethics of using artificial intelligence in civil engineering. Emma placed second overall.

Transportation Competition

This competition required the completion of a Traffic Impact Study and Intersection redesign to be presented at the symposium. Captained by junior Nolan Nicholson, the team placed second. 

Students build a 3D-printed bridge during the 2024 ASCE competition.

3D Bridge Competition

The competition required teams to design and 3D print pieces of a bridge in advance, then construct them at the competition and undergo load tests. Captained by sophomore Franki Vacko, the team, consisting of sophomores and first-year students, placed third.

CAD Competition

The CAD Competition was new in the IN-KY Symposium and required students to extend a road and its utilities using Civil 3D. Led by junior Liz Chen, the team placed third. 

Students work on building a steel bridge during the 2024 ASCE competition.
Students work on building a steel bridge during the 2024 ASCE competition.

AISC Steel Bridge Competition

This competition requires teams to design and build a 20-foot bridge in under 30 minutes. Led by junior Lauren Kane, Notre Dame’s bridge passed both the lateral and vertical loading tests for the first time.

A student uses a power drill during the Timber Strong event at the 2024 ASCE competition.
Students build a structure during the Timber Strong portion of the 2024 ASCE competition.
Students build a structure during the Timber Strong portion of the 2024 ASCE competition.
Several students work on completing a large structure during the 2024 ASCE Timber Strong competition.
A student uses a power drill to help build a large structure during the 2024 ASCE Timber Strong competition.
Students pose in front of their Timber Strong project during the 2024 ASCE competition.

Timber Strong Competition

The competition required the design and pre-fabrication of a two-story timber structure, which was then constructed at the competition. Captained by senior Gustavo Jimenez-Guzman, Notre Dame had the fastest construction time and passed the load test. 

Surveying Competition

The competition required teams to perform a variety of surveying-related tasks such as pacing, leveling, and performing a construction stakeout. Led by senior Sydney Herczeg, the team also created a topographic map prior to the competition and presented it over the weekend.

A student uses surveying equipment during the 2024 ASCE competition.

Construction Institute Competition

This competition tasked students with several real-work construction engineering challenges, and teams were asked to provide written or diagrammatic responses. The team, led by senior Viviana Rivera, then presented these results at the symposium. 

A student tosses beanbags during the concrete cornhole portion of the 2024 ASCE competition.

Concrete Cornhole Competition

This competition, captained by junior Noah Hollenback, required teams to make a cornhole board from concrete and a stand from wood. The Notre Dame concrete cornhole board was also painted, following the theme of the concrete canoe and featuring a rocket ship blasting off into space.

Concrete Disc Competition

New to the IN-KY Symposium, the Concrete Disc Competition required teams to make frisbees from concrete and throw them into a disc golf basket. Led by junior Elena Que, the three discs were painted to show an alien in a spaceship, a solar eclipse, and a rocket ship in space to follow the themes of the canoe and cornhole board.

Students pose with their concrete discs during the 2024 ASCE competition.

Mystery Design Competition

The Mystery Design Competition involved the construction of a tower made from wooden sticks. The team of four learned about the competition just before it began and had a time limit to create the strongest tower possible. Notre Dame’s tower held up to 175 pounds.

The team worked hard this year to grow the number of students participating in the club and conference, and they are looking forward to hosting the symposium next year at Notre Dame! Mark your calendars for April 3-5, 2025! 

Conference Members


  • Grace Astolfi, Concrete Canoe Safety/QA-QC Co-Captain
  • Joan Deitsch, Concrete Canoe Project Manager
  • Jen Driscoll, Concrete Canoe Aesthetics Captain
  • Sydney Herczeg, Surveying Captain
  • Gustavo Jimenez-Guzman, ASCE Co-President, Timber Strong Captain
  • Joe Lohman, Steel Bridge Designer
  • Katie McManaman, ASCE Co-President
  • Jack Munzel, ASCE Community Engagement Chair, Sustainable Solutions Captain
  • Finn O’Reilly, Concrete Canoe Mix Design Captain
  • Justin Reisert, Concrete Canoe Safety/QA-QC Co-Captain
  • Brad Richman, Steel Bridge Designer
  • Viviana Rivera, Construction Institute Captain
  • Jacob Ropp, Concrete Canoe Structural Captain


  • Lucas Braccia
  • Armani Carreon
  • Alex Castronovo
  • Liz Chen, AutoCAD Captain
  • Emmett Christenson
  • Angel Gonzalez Rodriguez
  • Sam Hillenmeyer
  • Noah Hollenback, Concrete Cornhole Captain
  • Lauren Kane, Steel Bridge President
  • Caroline Long
  • Ryan Mahoney
  • Serra Marquez
  • Nolan Nicholson, ASCE Treasurer, Transportation Captain
  • Elena Que, ASCE Public Relations Chair, Concrete Disc Captain
  • Emma Quinn, ASCE Vice-President, Technical Paper 
  • Clare Seymour
  • Emma Speyrer


  • Rovin Amores
  • Ben Fraser
  • Bridget Hannon
  • Michael Kolimago
  • James LaFever
  • Nick May
  • Braden Snow
  • Sam Tyler
  • Nicole Vaccaro, ASCE Secretary
  • Franki Vacko, 3D Competition Captain


  • Claire Burke
  • Shannon Dorman
  • Evan Johnson
  • Joshua Johnson
  • Alex Morrissey
  • Alexandra Ordaz
  • Lauren Price
  • Matthew Scariano
  • Zachary Quirk

ND Faculty, staff, graduate students, and alumni who assisted teams

  • Andrew Bartolini, ASCE Advisor
  • Brian Smith, Steel Bridge Advisor
  • Philip Barutha
  • Steve Blackburn
  • Patrick Brewick
  • Brittany Bullard
  • Roberto Cuevas
  • Luis Fargier-Gabaldon
  • Andrew Kennedy
  • Tina Mitchell 
  • Spencer Ness
  • Kevin Walsh

The Notre Dame ASCE team is sponsored by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences.

— Submitted by Emma Quinn and the ASCE team. Photos by Wes Evard, Notre Dame Engineering