Photo by Erin Foody
NJIT’s Surveying and Steel Bridge teams took first place in this year’s Metropolitan Student Symposium, hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers, or ASCE, and held at Rowan University. For student teams from the Newark College of Engineering, such as the surveying, steel bridge, and concrete canoe teams, this symposium offered a way to display both technical skill and school pride to the world.
Held from April 21-23, the event invited several colleges from across the New York metropolitan area to join in on three days of learning and competition. Over the three days, teams from the likes of Rutgers University, Stony Brook University, New York University, and Stevens Institute of Technology went head-to-head with Highlanders only a month ago.
Vincent Campanella is a second-year double majoring in surveying engineering technology and civil engineering who recently took the reins as leader of the surveying team. According to Campanella, what put his team over the top was their collective experience and camaraderie. In fact, 2023 marked the first time NJIT had sent a surveying team to compete in an ASCE regional; however, any nerves were nowhere to be seen in their results.
He attributes this to the fact that many surveying engineering technology students at NJIT have professional experience, and even work as surveyors as they pursue an education. This, along with the team’s friendly atmosphere, allowed them to work cohesively and eventually win the day.
Unfortunately, the surveying team does not plan on displaying their skills to the rest of the nation this year. Campanella is still thinking of the future, however, and advocates for more surveying engineering technology and civil engineering majors to help defend this year’s regional title. He hopes that ASCE will one day lean into technology-driven aspects of surveying to draw the interest of many prospective students.
Campanella wishes to acknowledge the contributions of two important figures in their run to the title — firstly, the organizing and logistical efforts of the ASCE president at NJIT, fourth-year civil engineering major Pedro Bandeira, and secondly, the advice and positive attitude of the steel bridge team leader, third-year civil engineering student Thomas Hickey.
Hickey attended the 2022 Symposium as a team member and found himself as the leader for the 2023 squad. In contrast to the surveying team, the steel bridge team had more varied experience, with some members never having done any welding before joining the team. Despite all that, it was this team that placed first in all categories except aesthetics. Hickey attributes this to both his coordination as well as a bit of luck.
Hickey admits that his skills in coordinating the building process have improved, but this year’s steel bridge team may have avoided a tougher assignment by pure chance. In the competition, the competing teams roll dice to see how heavy of a load their bridge must withstand. The NJIT team got the lightest load to test and placed first in that category.
While this was not the sole reason for their victory, the team appreciated the luck. Next year may bring further developments and further cement the Newark College of Engineering’s reputation. Stay tuned for further updates!
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