UF Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge Won’t Back Down

The University of Florida American Society of Civil Engineers (UF ASCE) Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge teams brought home the win at the 2019 Southeast ASCE Student Conference. UF ASCE took home the second place overall trophy.

The conference took place from March 28 to 30 at the University of Tennessee. Throughout the conference, ASCE student chapters across 28 universities compete in design and skill challenges to put their civil and environmental engineering knowledge to the test.

The Concrete Canoe team placed first overall, securing them a spot in the National Concrete Canoe Competition (NCCC) in June. The Steel Bridge team placed second overall and will compete in the Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) in May.

ESSIE’s Canoe Team at the Southeast ASCE Student Conference


The Concrete Canoe team paid tribute to Tom Petty, singer, songwriter and Gainesville native.

“We all grew up as fans of Tom Petty, coupled with the fact that he was born and raised in Gainesville, we figured our canoe would be a unique tribute to Gainesville’s number one son,” said Maitland Melnyk, Concrete Canoe co-captain. “We named our Canoe ‘Free Floatin’. This name has a dual meaning. First, it’s a tribute to one of Tom Petty’s most famous songs, ‘Free Fallin’.  Secondly, it’s a reference to the fact that our canoe, entirely made of concrete, is less-dense than water, which allows it to float without the use of foam.”

The team were the best of everything and had high scores across each category, coming in first place in the Design Paper, Oral Presentation, Final Product, Women’s and Men’s Endurance Races and the Coed Sprint Race competitions.

“Knowing that all the effort and time that we’ve put into the project hasn’t gone unrecognized is something I’m extremely proud of,” Melnyk said.

The Concrete Canoe team won’t back down and is preparing for the NCCC from June 6 to 8 at the Florida Institute of Technology.

“We plan on repeating this success at the national level,” Melnyk said.

ESSIE’s Steel Bridge Team at the the regional Student Steel Bridge Competition


There was room at the top for the Steel Bridge team, which placed top three in all categories of the regional Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC). They placed first in Stiffness and third in Assembly Time and Economy rankings.

 “It’s cool to see creativity from other teams throughout the region,” said Cory Salt, Steel Bridge co-captain. “We are preparing for our national competition by going back and making improvements.”

The SSBC national competition will be held at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale from May 31 to June 1.

“This team is renowned nationally. We have a reputation to maintain when we show up,” Salt said.