Louisiana Tech selected to host 2022 ASCE international competition

May 3, 2021 | Engineering and Science, General News, Students

In June 2022, college students from around the world will converge on Ruston to socialize, network, and lock horns for a top spot in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Competition.

Students make a concrete canoe.Thanks to the hard work of Louisiana Tech University’s ASCE student chapter, the University has been selected to host the international competition. Former Louisiana Tech ASCE student president Katya Opel, who received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 2020, came up with the idea for Tech to bid on hosting the 2022 competition shortly after Tech hosted the regional Deep South competition in 2019. Opel will have a busy summer in 2022; she will be completing her Master of Science in Civil Engineering program while planning the event.

“Co-curricular activities like the Concrete Canoe Competition help our students gain hands-on experience and leadership skills while having fun and applying the knowledge they’ve learned in the classroom,” said Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech President. “Planning the conference is a learning experience in itself, and we’re proud of our students and faculty for working to share Louisiana Tech and Ruston with the whole world through this event.”

Preparing for the regional contest by creating concrete mixes and canoe designs that are buoyant is a year-round activity; Louisiana Tech teams start on their canoes and papers during the fall, modifying and perfecting the mixtures and research throughout the winter, and testing and finalizing their presentations during the spring. As next year’s team works to develop the mix, canoe, technical papers, and plans for regionals, it will also be contracting with vendors, scheduling social events, and raising funds to host the final competition, which will be held at Lincoln Parish Park.

“We had so much fun hosting the 2019 ASCE Deep South regional competition,” Opel said, “and all the teams loved Lincoln Parish Park so much that I thought it would be exciting to host the finals. I knew that Tech and Ruston would be the perfect place for teams from around the world to come together and celebrate civil engineering.”

concrete canoe floatsOpel, the team, and their advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Matthews, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Technology, quickly developed a bid that included information about Louisiana Tech, Ruston, and Lincoln Parish Park, including food, housing, and socialization options for participants. The bid was followed by a site visit by the conference council in the spring of 2020, just before COVID-19 shut down campuses around the country. The sequence of events sealed Tech’s selection for the hosting honor.

“The council seemed impressed by Tech, especially the Integrated Engineering and Science Building, and the Lincoln Parish Park,” Opel added. “Since we’d hosted regionals just a year before, we had the experience in hosting a large-scale event and could point to how we’d expand the infrastructure we’d used then to the larger finals event.”

“I was so excited to learn we were going to be able to host this event,” Matthews said. “After the struggles of the last year, it is really something we can look forward to. It is going to be a really special event, not just for our students and community, but for all the teams who will get a chance to compete.”

For more information on how you can help support the Louisiana Tech ASCE as the team prepares for the 2022 conference, contact Dr. Elizabeth Matthews at